The new mine health and safety regime, part of the Government's response to the Pike River tragedy, will come into force on Monday, 16 December 2013.
A detailed guide to - and copies of - the new requirements are available from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) here. Existing operations have until 31 December 2014 to comply (with some extension rights and transitional provisions).
The regulations relate primarily to underground and surface coal mines, metalliferous mines (except alluvial gold and ironsand operations) and tunnelling operations. MBIE is still working on quarry specific guidelines for introduction in due course.
Mine operators will be required to:
- establish health and safety management systems, including risk assessment processes, hazard management plans and principal control plans
- engage with the mining workforce on health and safety issues, and
- appoint people to carry out key safety critical roles.
Compliance will be crucial as we expect WorkSafe New Zealand to be hot on the heels of mining operators.
The regime will be promoted and enforced by the Extractives Inspectorate Team of WorkSafe's High Hazards Unit and MBIE has already highlighted that although operators can expect more support from WorkSafe, WorkSafe will also expect more from the mining industry.
Further changes will be introduced with the passage of the Health and Safety at Work Bill, which will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act and is expected to be introduced to Parliament in early 2014.