RSHQ compliance: FY20 delivery and FY21 plan | Resources Safety & Health Queensland Skip to content

RSHQ compliance: FY20 delivery and FY21 plan

08 September 2020

RSHQ publishes quarterly figures on the number of audits, inspections and complaint investigations we have conducted across the petroleum, explosives, mining and quarrying sectors.

RSHQ publishes quarterly figures on the number of audits, inspections and complaint investigations we have conducted across the petroleum, explosives, mining and quarrying sectors.

Inspections and audits are fundamental to our compliance program and help drive the Queensland resources sector towards the vision of Zero Serious Harm. During inspections and audits, we provide safety advice to sites, and if risk is not being effectively managed, issue notices and directives requiring sites to improve or even stop work until it can be done safely. The program provides important security, safety and health information which we share with industry stakeholders and use to continuously improve our regulatory work.

In FY 2020, we met or exceeded our planned inspections and audits with the exception of unannounced inspections in the explosives sector and audits in petroleum and gas. Here, our plans were impacted by the collapse of the pyrotechnics and fireworks industry following the 2019 bushfires and restrictions on personnel movement and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020.

FY 2020 compliance activity actual vs plan

Inspectorate Inspection (plan) Inspection (actual) % Inspections anannouncedA Audit (plan) Audit (actual) Complaint investigations
Explosives 395 511 3B 15 19 114
Coal Mines 396 445 13 60 96 105
Mineral Mines & Quarries 970 974 18 7 7 83
Petroleum & Gas 1079 1145 19 67 58C 219


A: Our target range for % unannounced inspections is 10–20%, based on good practice regulation of high-hazard industry
B: Impacted by bushfires (collapse of firework industry) and COVID-19
C: Impacted by COVID-19 and rescheduled in FY 2021

FY 2021 compliance activity plan

Inspectorate Inspection (plan) Audit (plan)
Explosives 400 20
Coal Mines 450 70
Mineral Mines & Quarries 970 7
Petroleum & Gas 1200 75

Background to inspections, audits and complaint investigations

Inspections are typically undertaken by a single inspector and are focused on a particular hazard, activity, topic or work area. An inspection is usually completed in a single day but requires planning and follow-up action.

All inspections are planned, but may be either announced or unannounced, depending on the inspection’s focus. We aim for 10-20% of inspections to be unannounced, based on good regulatory practice. The actual number of unannounced inspections is driven by an assessment of current activities and risks in the resources sector.

Unannounced inspections are valuable for performing spot-checks on operating practices in response to a worker complaint and for verifying critical risk controls (such as equipment guarding) are being continuously applied. Unannounced inspections show industry there is a reasonable chance an inspector will just show up without warning – but whether an inspection is announced or unannounced, inspectors are not restricted in what they look at and who they speak with.

Audits are in-depth reviews of safety and health management systems, risk management plans and procedures, and their implementation. They can involve reviewing large volumes of information and discussions with site personnel.

The proportion of planned inspections and audits varies from sector to sector. For example, in the mineral mines and quarries sector, where we regulate thousands of smaller operations like quarries and small-scale mines, inspections take up the larger part of our compliance program. For larger coal mining operations involving complex safety systems, a greater emphasis on audit is appropriate.

Complaint investigations are undertaken when we receive information about an alleged breach of the law or potential danger to workers. Complaints should generally be raised first at site with supervisors or site safety and health representatives. If not properly addressed in the workplace, an inspector will log the complaint and conduct an investigation, which could involve a site inspection. The complaint process is confidential and the results provided to the complainant once completed.

Last updated: 08 Sep 2020