The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Western Australian Frac Regulations

Graham Marshall - Friday, February 14, 2014

Western Australia is thought to contain around 20 per cent of the World's recoverable shale gas reserves.

So the process of Hydraulic Fracturing (so called "frac" or "fracking") of shale to release the gas is likely to become a widespread practice in coming years.

In response, the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (WA DMP) has released its new draft Regulations for Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation to address water monitoring and gas well management.

The draft Regulations are open for public comment through to the end of May 2014.

Overall, more than 780 wells have already been fracked in WA since the first frac-job on Barrow Island in 1958.

It is thought that commercial exploitation of shale gas in WA is 5-10 years away.

WA Annual Environmental Reports

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 06, 2013

The  WA Department of Mines and Petroleum reports that in 2012 it has received more than 7,000 mining, petroleum and geothermal applications.

And thanks to a recently launched online access system, members of the public now have greater access to some of the detailed environmental plans mining companies submit through Annual Environmental Reports (AERs).

These detail a company's mining activities, as well as disturbance areas and completed environmental rehabilitation works.

The new online system for submitting AERs to the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum provides a number of benefits, including:

1.  Providing the public with easily accessible information on how resource companies are responding to their environmental responsibilities; and

2.  Improving data consistency, efficiency and transparency across the department's services.

The online system will become compulsory for Mining Companies to use from July 1 2013.

WA Workers More At Risk in 2012

Graham Marshall - Friday, November 02, 2012

There has been a slide in Western Australian workplace safety performance after WorkSafe WA revealed it had investigated about 2,000 fewer workplaces in the last financial year compared to each of the previous four years.

The reduction in site visits was due to the shortage of WorkSafe inspectors, as the agency struggled to compete with resources companies in the booming minerals sector for skilled workers.

WorkSafe currently has 15 unfilled vacancies in its complement of 103 inspectors

WorkSafe WA investigated 7,600 workplaces in 2011, compared to 9,400 the previous year and a high of 10,000 in 2009.

Figures from the agency's annual report show the number of its workplace visits almost halved since 2008.

The report said the number of improvement notices dropped by 25 per cent and prohibition notices by 33 per cent in the same period.

And there are no doubts to the Risk Tool Box that safety standards are falling in WA.

Research shows the frequency of severe injuries at WA workplaces had risen to its highest rate in 11 years.

Figures show the total number of severe incidents in which a worker needs to take 60 days or more to recover from an injury or disease sustained in the workplace - was 2.65 for every million hours worked in 2011, compared with a frequency rate of 2.24 incidents in this category a year previously.

The lost time injury (LTI) rate also increased in the 2011 year to 9.51 from 9.07 per million hours worked in 2010.


High Risk Work Certification

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, August 01, 2012

There are important changes to high risk work certificates being issued in Western Australia

High risk work was previously covered by a ‘Certificate of Competency’ issued by WorkSafe.

That certificate is now being replaced by a ‘High Risk Work Licence’ under the National Licensing Standard.

Further information about the required licence conversions, including the relevant forms, can be accessed via the WorkSafe website.

To assist in locating key information, Resources Safety has developed a series of internet  quicklinks on the website.

The Quicklinks page provides a single entry point for the following types of information:

+   Information for people working on mine sites;
+   Licensed companies and businesses;
+   Licensed individuals;
+   Unlicensed companies;
+   Information for homeowners; and
+   Regulatory amendments.

The miscellaneous amendments to Dangerous Goods Safety regulations were gazetted on 1 April 2012.

These form the first phase of a comprehensive regulatory reform program.

The other reforms will come into effect progressively through 2012.

Resources Safety Division in WA

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 28, 2012

Street address: Level 1, 303 Sevenoaks St, Cannington WA 6107
Postal address: Mineral House, 100 Plain St, East Perth WA 6004
Telephone: +61 8 9358 8002 (Monday-Friday, 8.30 am to 4.30 pm)
Facsimile: +61 8 9358 8000
NRS: 13 36 77 (the National Relay Service is an Australia-wide telephone access service available at no additional charge to people who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment)

including explosives, fireworks and major hazard facilities
Telephone: +61 8 9358 8002
Facsimile: +61 8 9358 8000
Dial 000 for dangerous goods emergencies or accidents requiring attendance of emergency services

including onshore petroleum pipelines and operations, and geothermal energy
Telephone: +61 8 9222 3597
Facsimile: +61 8 9222 3383

including exploration, mining and mineral processing
Telephone: +61 8 9358 8079 (general enquiries and safety and health representatives)
+61 8 9358 8102 (mines safety reporting)
+61 8 9358 8461 (health surveillance [MineHealth], contaminant monitoring and reporting)
Facsimile: +61 8 9325 2280

For a serious mining accident or incident, the mine or exploration manager must advise their District Inspector as soon as practicable.

Street address: Level 1, 303 Sevenoaks Street, Cannington WA 6107
Postal address: Mineral House, 100 Plain St, East Perth WA 6004
Telephone: +61 8 9358 8079

Street address: Cnr Broadwood and Hunter Sts, Kalgoorlie WA 6430
Postal address: Locked Bag 405, Kalgoorlie WA 6433
Telephone: +61 8 9021 9411

Street address: Level 1, 303 Sevenoaks Street, Cannington WA 6107
Postal address: Mineral House, 100 Plain St, East Perth WA 6004
Telephone: +61 8 9358 8079
Street address: 66 Wittenoom Street, Collie WA 6225
Postal address: PO Box 500, Collie WA 6225
Telephone: +61 8 9734 1222

Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Safework Australia has produced new guidance on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling for Chemicals which was developed under the auspices of the United Nations.

The new Guidance document can be found by clicking this link.

The new Guidance is intended for Australian manufacturers and importers of chemicals who have a duty under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations to classify them.

The Guidance may also be useful for suppliers, persons undertaking business, workers, and other persons involved with hazardous chemicals.

The document provides information and guidance on:

1.  The transitional arrangements for implementation of the GHS under the WHS Regulations, including when classifications, labels and safety data sheets need to be revised;

2.  How to translate existing classifications for hazardous substances and dangerous goods to meet GHS requirements; and

3.  The requirements in the WHS Regulations that apply to the classification of specific types of hazardous chemicals.

4.  What information is required on labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and whether certain provisions in work health and safety laws apply to their handling, use and storage in the workplace.

Check Emergency Shower and Eyewash Stations

Graham Marshall - Saturday, April 28, 2012

Site visits by mines safety inspectors in Western Australia over the past year have revealed that far too many safety shower and face or eye-wash combination units do not work properly.

Frequently, the shower and eye-wash components do not perform efficiently when used simultaneously.

The most common fault is that water supply pressures are too low and do not meet the manufacturers’ minimum requirements.

Emergency showers and eye-wash stations need to be regularly checked by the mine operator and they must also be maintained in good condition — no-one wants to discover there is a problem when they already have a hazardous substance on their skin or in their eyes.

To raise awareness of this issue, Resources Safety (WA Department of Mines and Petroleum) has produced a poster that summarizes the requirements of the relevant Australian Standard (AS 4775:2007), and can be used as a prompt when checking emergency shower and eye-wash stations.

The poster can be downloaded by clicking here (it is 7.3 MB so may take a few moments to upload).

John Holland Fined for Wayne Moore Fatality

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 27, 2012

The maximum civil penalty of AUD $242,000 has been handed-down this week by the Federal Court to Leighton Holdings following the death of  worker Wayne Moore, 45.

Wayne, who was an employee of John Holland, fell 10 meters after he stepped onto an unsecured sheet of grid mesh at BHP Billiton’s Mount Whaleback mine at Newman on March 19th, 2009.

Workplace inspectors found there had been two other incidents involving unsecured flooring mesh at the Mount Whaleback mine in the weeks leading up to Mr Moore’s death.

The Federal Court ruled that John Holland had breached federal work health and safety laws by failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety of its workers.

The AUD $242,000 fine imposed on John Holland is the maximum civil penalty upon a company for a breach of the general duty of care requirements under the Commonwealth OHS Act.

In addition to the fine, the Court imposed an enforceable undertaking from John Holland and John Holland Group, requiring them to implement better safety practices in their operations across Australia.

They are also required to share these improvements with the construction industry, including through the Federal Safety Commissioner.

The court decision sends a message to unsafe employers about the serious consequences of failing to meet their OSH legal obligations.

That message is even more important for employers to understand, since new work health and safety laws came into force January 1 this year and the penalties available to Courts are now much higher for similar cases.


2012 Mines Safety Roadshow

Graham Marshall - Saturday, April 14, 2012

The 2012 Western Australian Mines Safety Roadshow, presented by Resources Safety (Department of Mines and Petroleum) will this year take place in October.  

The State-wide events present an opportunity to confer with Resources Safety staff and guest presenters on issues of concern; hear about the latest news about safety performance; and, also network with other mining industry participants. 

Kicking off in Geraldton on October 5th, the Roadshow will then move on to the following locations:

+   Port Hedland - October 9th;

+   Karratha - October 10th;

+   Newman - October 11th;

+   Bunbury - October 16th;

+   Kalgoorlie - October 18th; and

+   Perth - October 24th.

Full details regarding the series of events will be circulated once finalized.

Contact Person at Resources Safety - Nic Easton  (phone: 61 8 9358 8154).

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