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The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has launched a code of practice for mine safety management.

The Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 create a duty for the mine operator to establish and implement a mine safety management system (MSMS), intended to be the primary means of ensuring safe operations by providing direction to everyone at a mine site.

It must be in place before mining operations commence and also applies to exploration operations.

Following extensive industry consultation and public comment, the MSMS code of practice has been approved by the Government and endorsed by both the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) and the Work Health and Safety Commission.

MIAC chair and chief Inspector of mines, Christina Folley, said that while most mining operations will have health and safety-related policies, plans and processes in place, the MSMS ties all these elements together into an integrated system.

“The MSMS enables persons conducting a business or undertaking to ensure there are no gaps in the management of all health and safety risks and that all of the elements work in a coordinated way,” she said.

The code has been developed based upon the publications ‘Code of Practice: Safety management systems in mines’ and ‘Guide: Preparing a principal mining hazard management plan’, produced by the NSW Resources Regulator.

Through ongoing consultation with workers, the MSMS identifies the outcomes that a mining operation must achieve, rather than creating a set of prescriptive rules to be followed. It recognises that no two operations are the same and that hazards will vary from site to site.