Queensland passes new law to enhance workplace safety in resources sector

New legislation mandates critical controls, introduces enforceable undertakings

Queensland passes new law to enhance workplace safety in resources sector

The Queensland Parliament has passed new legislation that seeks to better protect workers and enhance safety in its resources sector.

The newly passed Resources Safety and Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 brings changes to safety and health regulations in Queensland's mines, quarries, petroleum, gas, and explosives industries.

Among the changes include the introduction of enforceable undertakings (EU) in the resources sector and the mandatory inclusion of critical controls on the safety and health management systems of mine and quarry sites.

"Our goal for these reforms was to improve the resource sector's safety and health performance, and to reduce the number of fatalities and serious accidents," said Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart in a statement.

The legislation also implements the final recommendations for the Resources Safety and Health Queensland, which were brought forward by the Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry following the 2020 Grosvenor mine explosion.

"This has been a monumental effort and I want to thank everyone who contributed to these reforms, in particular the parents of Gareth Dodunski, Michelle and Phil, who bravely recounted the devastating loss of their son during the Committee hearings," Stewart said.

Critical controls mandated

Under the legislation, mine and quarry sites across Queensland will now be mandated to include critical controls in their safety and health management systems.

Critical controls refer to measures aimed preventing or mitigating the consequences of an unwanted event.

The International Council on Mining and Metals said the absence or failure of critical controls would "significantly increase the risk despite the existence of the other controls."

Prior to the newly passed legislation, these controls have been voluntarily applied across Queensland's resources sector.

Enforceable undertaking introduced

The legislation also introduces enforceable undertakings (EU) for the first time to the resources sector.

An EU is an alternative to prosecution that allows the regulator to accept commitments from individuals and companies who have breached safety and health laws, except in cases involving workplace deaths.

"The resources industry is a key driver of the Queensland economy, but we can't have a thriving resources sector without robust safety measures in place," Stewart said. "The most important thing to come out of out of any workplace at the end of each shift is its workers, and that is why safety is my number one priority."

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