WP 33 - Safety regulation and mining inspectorate: Lessons from Western Australia

Author/s (editor/s):

Gunningham, Neil

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Peer Reviewed Publication: Gunningham, Neil. (2005). “Safety, regulation and the mines inspectorate: lessons from Western Australia” 21 Journal of Occupational Health and Safety: Australia and New Zealand 4, 299-310. 

This paper examines the role of mining regulation and its enforcement, principally in Western Australia. It begins by describing the activities of the Mines Inspectorate and then raising a series of concerns relating to the limitations of the regulatory status quo. In particular it examines the extent to which the Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) inspectors rely on detailed prescriptive requirements to the detriment of performance and systems based approaches; the extent to which the DoIR audit process fails to monitor adequately the effectiveness of OHS management systems; the extent to which DoIR inspectors failed to consult adequately with worker representatives; the limitations of the inspectorate’s current approach to enforcement action; and whether the inspectorate was sufficiently independent of the companies it regulated. It concludes with some broader reflections in response to the DoIR’s vision of best regulatory practice, and by raising some practical issues concerning the lack of adequate regulatory resources.

Cite the publication as

Gunningham, Neil, 2005, WP 33 - Safety regulation and mining inspectorate: Lessons from Western Australia, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation, Canberra

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