Direct employment requirements for statutory safety roles in coal
On 25 November 2022 the Coal Mining Safety and Health and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022 came into effect requiring persons appointed to the following positions to be directly employed by the operator of a coal mine:
- for all coal mines: site senior executive (SSE)
- for surface mines only: open cut examiner (OCE)
- for underground mines only:
- underground mine manager (UMM)
- ventilation officer (VO)
- explosion risk zone (ERZ) controller
- electrical engineering manager
- mechanical engineering manager.
The ‘direct employment’ amendments to the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (the CMSH Act) were passed by Parliament in May 2020, with a 21/2 year deferment to facilitate industry implementation.
Several exceptions also commenced on 25 November 2022 to coincide with the direct employment requirements. The following exceptions aim to provide practical ways for industry to implement the direct employment requirements while ensuring the focus on safety is maintained:
SSE, UMM and VO statutory position holders can be directly employed by associated entities.
- This provides coal mine operators greater flexibility to engage SSE, UMM or VO statutory positions from across the different operations and associated companies, without the need to restructure individual employment arrangements each time.
The direct employment requirements don’t apply to temporary absences or vacancies of up to 12 weeks for the SSE, OCE, UMM, ERZ controller, electrical engineering manager, mechanical engineering manager and VO statutory positions.
- This provides coal mine operators more flexibility to cover unplanned absences or vacancies for a statutory safety position, by allowing a person who is not an employee to act temporarily in the role.
The direct employment requirements don’t apply to an SSE for a coal mine operator whose operations only involve exploration activities.
- This provides greater flexibility in appointing an SSE for companies undertaking exploration activities that do not involve other aspects of coal mining operations.
Exception for entities that employ or otherwise engage at least 80 per cent of the total workforce at a coal mine.
- The SSE, OCE, UMM, ERZ controller, electrical engineering manager (at an underground mine), mechanical engineering manager (at an underground mine) and VO statutory positions at such a coal mine can be directly employed by the entity (e.g. a large contractor company, major service provider, etc.) when that entity also employs more than 80 per cent of the entire mine’s workers.
- This change also facilitates the operation of full-service contracts for whole-of-mine operations where the contractor is not the coal mine operator but is substantially responsible for operations and essentially are the de facto operator.
For more details visit the Queensland legislation website to read the amended legislation and the explanatory notes.
You can also contact the Mines Inspectorate for information.
Last updated: 22 Nov 2022