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Strong safety laws for Queensland mines

The Mineral and Energy Resources and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 20 May 2020. The Act paves the way for a number of changes that will strengthen safety laws in the resources sector.

Industrial manslaughter

The introduction of industrial manslaughter offences into Queensland’s resource safety Acts strengthens safety laws by bringing into focus the conduct of employers and senior officers.

The offence of industrial manslaughter applies when an employer’s or senior officer’s criminal negligence causes the death of a worker in the resources sector.

These changes are consistent with industrial manslaughter offences in Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and provide consistent treatment of criminal negligence.

Serious penalties apply, including 20 years imprisonment for an individual and 100,000 penalty units for a corporation, equivalent to more than $13 million.

These amendments come into effect following the commencement of the Resources Safety and Health Queensland Act 2020 on 1 July.

Appointments to safety statutory roles

The Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 has been amended with a requirement that statutory office holders be employees of the coal mine operator.

These positions are critical roles for the safety of mine sites and are important in managing risks to the safety and health of coal mine workers.

It is essential that these officers be able to raise safety concerns without fearing an impact on their employment.

These amendments will be implemented following a transitional period of 18 months. This period has been provided to ensure industry has time to make the necessary arrangements to comply with their obligations.

Last updated: 27 Jul 2020