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Mine Safety

Mine Safety

Law Regulation Policy

By Neil Gunningham


Historically, the mining industry has had a high incidence of work related injury and disease, and of disasters involving multiple fatalities. It also faces OHS challenges far exceeding those confronting most other industry sectors.

Mine safety legislation can play an important role in meeting those challenges. Although regulation is never likely to be the entire answer, good regulation not only brings laggards up to a minimum legal standard, it also encourages, rewards and facilitates leaders in going beyond them. Bad regulation, in contrast, constrains good enterprises from taking the initiative to improve OHS, while failing to deter bad ones.

This book describes mine safety legislation in the “mining states” and analyses its strengths and weaknesses. It also examines the broader policy questions of how best to design, implement and enforce mine safety regulation.

It argues that substantial reform will be necessary not only in setting standards, but also in their implementation, if further OHS improvements are to be achieved. This implies substantial changes in the way the mine safety inspectorates go about their tasks: in how they administer and enforce the law; and in the circumstances in which they choose to prosecute. It also requires the nurturing of a degree of trust between employers and workers (individually and collectively) and between both these parties and the mines inspectorates, that has been substantially lacking in recent years.



The OHS challenge
Mine safety and the role of law

Part One - The Legal Framework

Safety, regulation and the mining industry

Part Two - Towards Reform: Best Practice Regulation, Inspection, Enforcement and Prosecution

Towards reform
Designing standards: towards best practice
Inspection: underlying issues
Inspection and enforcement strategies
Inspection and enforcement tools
Prosecution for OHS offences: deterrent or disincentive?
Principles for a more rational and effective prosecution policy

Part Three - Regulation in Many Rooms

Industry associatons, trade unions and worker participation
Building trust

Bibliography/ Index/ Cases/ Legislation


This impressive work provides important insights into how law, regulation and policy interact and influence workplace practice. They are relevant beyond the mining industry and will assist national efforts to improve Australia's OHS performance.

Robin Stewart-Crompton, CEO, National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, 2001-2006

The regulation of mining safety in Australia has particular structures, characteristics and challenges.
Neil Gunningham's book makes a telling contribution to this evolving and critical field. It draws upon extensive historical, legislative and empirical research to suggest regulatory methods to reduce workplace injury.
It is a book which has the capacity to greatly assist future planning by legislators and regulatory bodies.

The Hon Mark Ritter SC, Acting President of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

This book provides an excellent coverage of a topical and critical area in the Australian mining industry's journey towards 'zero harm' a journey that needs all the support it can get.
It provides a splendid basis for further thinking and development by all of the vital stakeholders and (indirectly at the very least) a compelling argument for all parties to get together and work towards the common goal.

Graham Terrey, formerly Director of Mine Safety and Chief Inspector of Mines for NSW


Published 14 August 2007
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862875661
Australian RRP $75.00
International Price $70.00
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Law - Mining
Law - Industrial & Employment
Law - Occupational Health and Safety
Industrial Relations / EEO
Occupational Health and Safety

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