COVID-19 Advising the regulator of COVID-19 incidents for WA mining operations

This publication is for: 
Mine operator

This document clarifies the requirements to advise the regulator under the WHS legislation the following information is provided.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 (WHS Mines Regulations) came into effect on 31 March 2022.

Persons conducting a business or undertaking, including a mine operator, are required to notify the regulator (under s. 38 of the WHS Act) if it is confirmed that a person has contracted an illness (e.g. COVID-19) through the conduct of work and:

  • the person dies
  • the person is required to have treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • the person requires urgent transfer from a remote location to a medical facility for treatment
  • in the opinion of a medical practitioner the illness will prevent the person from doing their normal work for at least 10 days
  • the person contracted COVID-19 while carrying out work that involves providing treatment or care to a person or involves contact with human blood or body substances.

For WA mining operations, positive COVID-19 cases could cause serious harm to a person and reporting is required in accordance with r. 5 and r. 675V of the WHS Mines Regulations.

To assist in determining if a COVID-19 case (or any other infectious disease) is reportable, then the following criteria should be considered:

  • does the person require medical treatment on site?
  • is the person unable or unlikely to do their normal duties for 10 or more days?

If any of these interventions are required then it is likely that serious harm could have occurred and the case should be reported.

There is no longer a requirement to report positive asymptomatic or close contact cases in isolation to the regulator. There still exists an obligation to report confirmed cases to the lead agency, the Health Department of WA.

Mine operators are reminded that they have been advised previously of the expectation that mining operations appoint an infectious disease manager and implement their infectious diseases management plan to manage the risk of COVID-19 within the health and hygiene management plan. For the time being, a health and hygiene management plan will be viewed as a health management plan as required under r. 675EA of the WHS Mines Regulations.

The health management plan forms part of the mines safety management system, however, as per the transitional arrangements to the new legislation, the mines safety management system is not required to be fully implemented for a further 12 months. Notwithstanding the transition period, it is considered good practice that the implementation of the infectious disease management plan continues under the new legislative framework. Industry is encouraged to continue to reduce the risk of COVID-19 on their sites by implementing and continuously improving their infectious disease management plan.

Last updated 30 Aug 2022

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