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Safety Regulation and the Mining Inspectorate – Lessons From Western Australia

CollectionsANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
Title: Safety Regulation and the Mining Inspectorate – Lessons From Western Australia
Author(s): Gunningham, Neil
Keywords: monitoring OHS compliance
best practice mining regulation
OHS management systems
OHS regulatory practice
Mining regulation and enforcement
OHS audits
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: The National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR), Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Working Paper (The Australian National University, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR)): No. 33
This paper examines the role of mining regulation and its enforcement, principally in Western Australia. It begins by describing the activities of the Mines Inspectorate and then raising a series of concerns relating to the limitations of the regulatory status quo. In particular it examines the extent to which the Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) inspectors rely on detailed prescriptive requirements to the detriment of performance and systems based approaches; the extent to which the DoIR audit process fails to monitor adequately the effectiveness of OHS management systems; the extent to which DoIR inspectors failed to consult adequately with worker representatives; the limitations of the inspectorate’s current approach to enforcement action; and whether the inspectorate was sufficiently independent of the companies it regulated. It concludes with some broader reflections in response to the DoIR’s vision of best regulatory practice, and by raising some practical issues concerning the lack of adequate regulatory resources. 1


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