Through his leadership, the council has become an authoritative and credible body that provides sound strategic advice to the Minister for Resources and Energy on important health and safety issues in the NSW mining and extractives industry, according to industry leaders who spoke to ILN.
“Norman showed strong leadership and commitment to improving mine safety over the almost six years as Chairman of the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council, making a significant contribution to the safety of the NSW mining and extractives industry,” acting NSW Minerals Council chief executive Sue-Ern Tan said.
“He was instrumental in ensuring that all members of the NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council worked collaboratively and cooperatively, in the interests of everyone’s health and safety.
“During Norman's tenure, MSAC published world best practice guidelines on fatigue, safety incentive schemes, musculoskeletal disorders and health management plans. His work will leave a lasting legacy for the NSW mining industry in striving towards what Norman believed was possible and achievable – a world leading OHS culture.”
Jennings, who became chairman in 2006, brought industry stakeholders together to agree on a vision of achieving a world leading OHS status for the NSW industry. He is recognised by industry stakeholders nationally as a committed advocate for health safety in the mining and extractives industry.
Through his stewardship, Jennings encouraged industry to conduct groundbreaking research on how it was managing issues such as hours of work, the unintended consequences of safety incentive schemes and the implementation of OHS management systems at mine sites. This research is known as the “Digging Deeper Project”
Jennings brought a focus to significant issues through leading the development of collaborative approaches by the council to addresses matters such as fatigue, and he shone the spotlight on significant health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders. These approaches included the development of guidance, education and assistance programs for the industry where it was most needed.
In working towards world leading OHS status, Jennings steered the council towards examining how the industry’s OHS culture could be improved through enabling all in the industry to actively and constructively participate in health and safety.
Before being appointed as MSAC chairman, Jennings had a long career in the resources sector.
He worked at Australian Iron and Steel, the Federal Department of Resources and Energy (twice), the International Energy Agency in Paris, and, for 19 years, the International Labour Office in Geneva.
Since returning to Australia, he had also been a consultant for different organisations on mine health and safety in several Asian countries.