NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator

NEW South Wales mine operators responded quickly and appropriately to risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and overall standards were high, an inspection program by the Resources Regulator has found.
NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator NSW mines response to COVID-19 satisfactory: regulator

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NSW chief inspector of mines Garvin Burns said most operators had implemented appropriate controls with only a small number of issues being identified, which were largely minor in nature.

"Under work health and safety laws, employers must do all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise the risks arising from COVID-19," he said.

"Of the 87 mines inspected to date, the majority have demonstrated that they have implemented appropriate controls and are maintaining appropriate levels of supervision - with many able to demonstrate that they had comprehensive workplace controls in place.

"However, there were a small number of issues identified in relation to some sites not appropriately documenting their controls or completing risk assessments.

"These resulted in some improvement notices issued - but pleasingly the program has not resulted in the issue of any prohibition notices."

The regulator's planned inspection program consistently found that mine sites were educating the workforce on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and encouraging self-reporting; implementing health surveillance controls; and putting into practice good hygiene, including routine cleaning of mobile plant and crib rooms.

They were also providing resources to allow the practice of social distancing and flexible working-from-home arrangements and providing robust supervision arrangements onsite.

"The regulator will continue to monitor the implementation of controls through its proactive inspection program and mine operators are reminded of the need to remain vigilant to both COVID-19 related risks and the risks associated with mining hazards," the regulator said.

 

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