Frequently asked questions about statutory positions and certificates

Frequently asked questions about statutory positions and certificates have been compiled from the interaction between the department and industry.

Interaction with the Statement of Regulatory Intent

WorkSafe considers non-adherence to the Statutory Appointment process as an administrative breach, and therefore a low-risk situation. As per Section 2 of the Statement of Regulatory Intent, for the first 12 months after implementation, inspectors will take a supportive and educative approach in assisting industry to comply.

However, it is important that appropriately qualified and experienced persons are working in statutory positions. Not having competent persons in these safety-critical roles would be considered a serious risk to health as safety, as per Section 4 of the statement of regulatory intent.

For more information see the Statement of Regulatory intent: Implementation of Work Health and Safety legislation in WA (www.wa.gov.au).

Statutory Supervisor

Who is eligible to be appointed as a statutory supervisor?

Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 743(1) stipulates that rr.675ZB(1) and 675ZC(2) do not apply during the period of 3 months beginning on commencement day (of WHS Laws) in relation to the appointment of statutory supervisors.

Therefore any competent person can be appointed to the statutory supervisor position for a period of 3 years ending on 31 March 2025. After 31 March 2025 the person to be appointed as statutory supervisor must meet the prescribed requirements in the WHS Mines Schedule 26, item 3.

  • Regulation 675ZB(1) requires the mine operator to ensure persons do not perform the functions of a statutory position (in this case statutory supervisors) unless they are appropriate (i.e. meet eligibility criteria as outlined in Schedule 26 item 3(4)) and that they have been appointed to the position;
  • Regulation 675ZC(2) requires the mine operator to ensure sufficient appropriate persons are appointed to carry out the functions of the position (i.e. statutory supervisor)

The above does not detract from industry’s responsibility for supervisors to be in place at operations, and the industry are reminded that the persons occupying these positions must be competent to carry out the functions of the role as detailed with Schedule 26 and other tasks expected of them, these persons are to be taken to be an appropriate person until 31 March 2025.

The Inspectorate will adopt a supportive and educational approach where a genuine attempt has been made to comply with the legislation (refer to Section 2 of Statement of Regulatory Intent.

Further details on transitional provisions.

Where is a Statutory Supervisor required? 

Under the WHS (Mines) regulations (Schedule 26. cl 3(1)), the following areas at a mine must be supervised by a Statutory Supervisor:

  1. laboratory
  2. processing plant
  3. quarry
  4. workshop
  5. each place where the mine operator for the mine considers it necessary to have a statutory supervisor to reduce the risks to health and safety associated with mining operations carried out at the mine.

This means that each of the above locations requires a suitably qualified and competent appointed Statutory Supervisor to be present where work is taking place.

How many Statutory Supervisors should be appointed? Could there be more than one Statutory Supervisor in a work group? 

It is important to note that the number of supervisors required and their oversight will depend on factors such as hazards and the risk they present, the number of personnel and work groups, and the size of the work area. Based on a risk assessment, the mine operator must identify if other non-specified areas would require a Statutory Supervisor.

For example, a laboratory operating under two shifts would require a Statutory Supervisor for each.

If the mine operator deems that other areas do not require a Statutory Supervisor, this should be addressed, and documented in the risk assessment.

Does the Statutory Supervisor need to be present at their area?

A Statutory Supervisor must be present at their appointed place to supervise and allocate tasks to workers in accordance with the functions listed in the WHS (Mines) regulations (Schedule 26. cl 3(3))

Appointment of statutory positions 

What roles require notification of appointment?

Notification of appointment is required only for the Site Senior Executive and Exploration Manager.

The approved form for the notification is accessed through the Safety Regulation System (SRS).

There is no requirement to notify WorkSafe about appointments to other roles. However, mine operators are required to record the appointments, and they may choose to use SRS for this purpose.

Access the Safety Regulation System (SRS)

Why is there the option for Statutory Supervisors to be added to SRS?

Other statutory positions may be registered in SRS – this is why SRS has the provision for uploading the details of Statutory Supervisors. All statutory positions are required to be documented in the operation’s Mine Safety Management System, and SRS can be used as part of that management system.

We have a number of positions to be uploaded – is bulk upload an option?

There is no option for bulk uploads.

Statutory positions must accept appointment to the position in writing – what does this require? 

Written record of acknowledgement may include an email, a signed document such as a job description form, or an acknowledgement letter. Verbal acknowledgement is not accepted. This approach allows for a record of the acknowledgement to be produced if requested.

Are notifications of appointment “approved”?

The Regulator, Chief Inspector of Mines, or other WorkSafe officers no longer approve appointments. However, when inspectors audit an operation’s Mine Safety Management System, they will check that the appointed persons meet the eligibility criteria for the relevant role,  and respond accordingly  if the eligibility criteria have not been fully met.

Alternates

When is an alternate required for a statutory position?

If a person appointed to a key statutory position is on leave or unavailable, an alternate person may carry out the functions. The alternate must be appropriate for the position (in that they meet the eligibility criteria) and be appointed by the mine operator.

What are the requirements of an alternate?

Alternates must be capable of, and available to, carry out the functions of the key statutory position. They must be an appropriate person – which means that they meet the eligibility criteria for the key statutory position.

Does this mean that alternates are required to meet the training and examination requirements of the key statutory position? 

Yes. Otherwise they would not be appropriate persons. Note that this is subject to the WHS transition arrangements, and Statement of Regulatory Intent..

How many alternates are permitted?

There is no limit to the number of alternates who may be appointed.

Does the appointment of an alternate need to be notified?

Notification of appointment of an alternate is only required for Site Senior Executives and Exploration Managers.

Key statutory positions

What are the key statutory positions?

Site Senior Executive (SSE), Exploration Manager, Underground Manager, and Quarry Manager.

Can key statutory positions have more than one appointment?

No. There must be no more than one (1) person appointed to each statutory position for the mine at the same time. There are no limits on the number of alternates.

Is the SSE required to be on site to maintain coverage?

The WHS (Mines) regulations (675ZI(1)(a)) require the SSE to be located at or near the mine.  If the SSE is unable to carry out the functions of the position when required, an alternate must be appointed by the mine operator.

Can a person in a key statutory position be appointed to a position at another mine?

Yes, if approved by the regulator.

The mine operator should use this form to apply to the regulator for a person who is appointed to a key statutory position for a mine to be appointed to a statutory position for another mine 

Can mining operations being carried out in conjunction with one another be regarded as separate mines? 

Yes, if approved by the regulator.

The mine operator should use this form to notify the regulator that they consider mining operations being carried out in conjunction with one another can/should be regarded as separate mines

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