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RSHQ compliance: FY21 plan and YTD actual

30 October 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.

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.

FY 2021 compliance activity—full year planned activities

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

FY 2021 compliance activity—quarterly planned vs actual activities (1 July to 31 December 2020)


Inspectorate Inspection (plan) Inspection (actual) Unannounced inspectionsA
Explosives 20023127%
Coal Mines 22526615%
Mineral Mines & Quarries 48550623%
Petroleum & Gas 600587B28%


Inspectorate Audit (plan) Audit (actual) Complaint investigations
Explosives 101170
Coal Mines 354831
Mineral Mines & Quarries 4533
Petroleum & Gas 3848108


A: Our target range for unannounced inspections is 10–20%, based on good practice regulation of high-hazard industry
B: Inspections of upstream affected by wet weather closing gasfields in the Surat Basin

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 and 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 that critical risk controls (such as equipment guarding and energy isolation systems) are being continuously applied. Unannounced inspections also 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 generally more in-depth reviews of safety and health management system implementation, risk management plans and procedures, and certain operational activities. They can involve reviewing large volumes of information and discussions with site personnel.

The proportion of 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 more 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 record the complaint and conduct an investigation, which could involve a site inspection. The complaint process is confidential and the results are provided to the complainant once completed.

Last updated: 30 Oct 2020