Managing statutory positions on mine sites

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This page contains frequently asked questions relating to managing statutory positions on mine sites

Statutory positions

What happens if the mine operator does not have sufficient eligible people to appoint to statutory positions?

As stated in Section 2 of the WorkSafe Commissioner’s Statement of Regulatory Intent, for the first 12 months after implementation of the WHS laws, WorkSafe inspectors will take a supportive and educative approach in assisting industry to comply in relation to technical (low risk) breaches.

So while the eligibility criteria may not have been met yet, 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.

Key statutory positions

What does “at or near a mine” mean for site senior executives? 

The WHS (Mines) Regulations require the site senior executive to be located at or near the mine, which ensures they are available to carry out their functions of providing control and management of the mine, and emergencies are managed and dealt with appropriately. As each mining operation is unique, with diverse scenarios of travel time, distance and size, so there cannot be a set time or distance that constitutes “at or near”.

Mine operators must consider and document a risk-based approach for their operation, and consider the scenarios that require an alternate site senior executive to be in place. This risk-based assessment forms part of the mine operator’s mine safety management system (MSMS).

Note: If the site senior executive is staying at accommodation located on the mine tenure or used to accommodate mine workers, while at work, on a regular basis then this is considered to be at the mine (e.g. FIFO accommodation). If the site senior executive is staying at their home and it is in a township or location close to the mine, and they have a regular daily commute to the mine, then this is considered near the mine (e.g. residential DIDO accommodation).

Does a mine that is on care and maintenance require the appointment of a site senior executive?

Yes, while a mine is in care and maintenance, a site senior executive must be appointed. If there is work being performed at the mine as part of care and maintenance, the site senior executive or their alternate will need to be at or near the mine while there are workers at the mine. There may also be the requirement to appoint statutory supervisors if the mine operator and mine safety management system deem it necessary to reduce the risks to worker health and safety 

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

Yes, if approved by the WorkSafe Commissioner. 

The mine operator should use this form to apply for a person holding a key statutory position to be appointed to a key statutory position for another mine.

Schedule 26 statutory positions

What are the transitional arrangements for statutory supervisor appointments?

Under current transitional arrangements for the WHS (Mines Regulations) 2022, a competent person can be appointed to the statutory supervisor position for the period ending on 30 March 2025. WorkSafe is in the process of amending the regulations to extend the transition period to 30 March 2026. Once the regulation amendment is gazetted, after 30 March 2026 the person appointed as statutory supervisor must meet the eligibility criteria for the statutory position (i.e. have completed the legislation examination and approved risk management units of competency).

What does “in writing” mean when accepting an appointment to a statutory position? 

The written record accepting appointment to a statutory position 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 acceptance to be produced if requested by a WorkSafe inspector.

Which Schedule 26 statutory positions require notification of appointment?

There is no requirement to notify WorkSafe about appointments to any Schedule 26 statutory positions. However, when WorkSafe inspectors audit an operation’s Mine Safety Management System, they will check that the appointed persons meet the eligibility criteria for the relevant position.

How are an operation’s statutory appointments to be recorded?

Appointments to statutory positions are required to be recorded in the operation’s mine safety management system (MSMS). The Safety Regulation System (SRS) can be used as part of the MSMS and has functionality that allows recording of appointments.

Note: There is no option for bulk uploads of appointments to SRS.

How many statutory supervisors should be appointed to a mine?

The number of statutory supervisors required and their oversight will depend on factors such as the hazards and their risks, the number of personnel and work groups, the shift arrangements, and the size of the work area.

For example, a laboratory operating under two shifts would require a statutory supervisor for each. 

In addition to the places listed in the WHS Mines Regulations as requiring a statutory supervisor, the mine operator must identify, based on a risk assessment, which other places would require the appointment of a statutory supervisor.

If the mine operator deems that a work area does not require a statutory supervisor, this should be documented by a risk-based assessment as part of the mine operator’s mine safety management system (MSMS).

Functions of an electrical supervisors and statutory supervisors

The functions of an electrical supervisor are outlined in schedule 26 cl.5 of the WHS (Mines) Regs 2022. Broadly the role of an appointed electrical supervisor is to perform a compliance type function relating to electrical work, maintenance and installations at the mine.

The functions of a statutory supervisor are outlined in schedule 26 cl.3 of the WHS (Mines) Regs 2022. Broadly this role is the single person who manages the tasks of all workers and manages interactions and hazards within their appointed place at the mine.

Are all electrical supervisors required to be statutory supervisors?

No. However, if the person who is appointed as an electrical supervisor (schedule 26 cl.5) is also required to perform the functions of a statutory supervisor (schedule 26 cl.3), and has been appointed to one or more appointed places at the mine, then the person can hold both appointments. To hold both appointments the person must meet the eligibility criteria of both positions.


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