Submission to the Safe Work Australia consultation regulation impact statement

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Safe Work Australia Consultation Regulation Impact Statement: Recommendations of the 2018 Review of the Model Work Health Safety Laws.

The MCA represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry. MCA member companies account for more than 75 per cent of Australia’s annual mineral production and 80 per cent of mineral export earnings. Resources companies employ more than 240,000 people directly in highly paid, highly skilled jobs, mostly in remote and regional Australia.

The Australian minerals industry is committed to continuous improvement in all areas of health and safety and follows a best practice risk-based approach to managing risks of exposure to the workplace. The number one value and commitment of the Australian minerals industry is the safety and health of its workforce, where everyone goes to work and returns home safely.

The MCA supports a firm but fair legislative framework that achieves healthy and safe workplaces and provides for appropriate responses if serious offences are proven. Those objectives must encourage prompt learning and sharing of important lessons that can contribute to general and specific deterrence and improve health and safety outcomes at Australian workplaces.

The MCA continues to advocate for:
  • Continuous improvement, where all parties work together in support of a safety culture based on trust and openness
  • Regulatory practice based on consistency, transparency, probity, clarity of role, flexibility and rational pragmatism
  • Enforcement rationale based primarily on the desire to improve Work Health and Safety (WHS) standards at Australian workplaces and prevent further incidents by fostering prompt sharing of safety lessons across industry

This submission contains industry feedback, examples and preferred position on the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 2: Psychosocial risks
  • Recommendation 7A: work groups and HSRs in small business
  • Recommendation 8: Workplace entry by HSR assistants
  • Recommendation 9:Cancelling a provisional improvement notice
  • Recommendation 10: Choice of HSR training course
  • Recommendation 13: Referral of disputes
  • Recommendation 15: WHS entry permit holders: prior notice of entry
  • Recommendation 17: Inspectors’ powers
  • Recommendation 23A and 23B: Category 1 offence and industrial manslaughter
  • Recommendation 26: Prohibit insurance for WHS fines
  • Recommendation 27: Risk management process
  • Recommendation 29A and 29B: Safe Work Method Statements
  • Recommendations contained in Appendix A: recommendation 6, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 25.

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