Changing the State's regulatory framework for health and safety in the resources industry
The Queensland Parliament has passed the Resources Safety and Health Queensland Act 2020 (Qld) (RSHQ Act), which when it comes into effect on 1 July 2020, will change the State's regulatory framework for health and safety in the resources industry.
Significantly, these laws are likely to further facilitate the increasing regulatory emphasis on enforcement actions and a further move away from what has been described as the 'light-touch' regulatory approach of advising and assisting duty-holders with compliance in Queensland's resources sector.
The aim of the RSHQ Act is to establish a revised regulatory regime for resources safety and health in Queensland that:
- gives rise to worker trust;
- ensures appropriate independence and transparency; and
- enhances independent oversight of the performance of the regulator.
The RSHQ Act establishes a new and independent:
- regulator that will be named Resources Safety and Health Queensland; and
- Commissioner for Resources Safety and Health.
The RSHQ Act will also allocate responsibility for the prosecution of 'serious offences' to the existing, independent Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor of Queensland.
Relevantly, the RSHQ Act will affect resource businesses and other duty-holders that are covered by the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (Qld), which will be amended. Other legislation that will also be amended includes:
- the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld);
- the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (Qld); and
- the Explosives Act 1999 (Qld).
Legal, risk and safety management teams need to be aware of these regulatory reforms that will commence on 1 July 2020 especially those individuals who may be tasked with making safety incident notifications to RSHQ or navigating other interactions with RSHQ, or the WHS Prosecutor.
Industry stakeholders should make their officers and workers aware of these newly incoming regulatory bodies as they relate to the management of safety and health matters and legal compliance.
For further details on the key provisions of the Act please refer to our full article here.