What are statutory positions and who is eligible for appointment?

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Part 10.7A of the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 [WHS (Mines) Regulations] prescribes positions in relation to mines. These statutory positions are appointed by the mine operator to carry out specific functions in relation to the operations of a mine.

Statutory positions are classified in several categories, with different functions and obligations, and levels of knowledge, experience and formal qualifications for the appointed persons, with some positions requiring statutory certificates.

Key statutory positions

There are five key statutory positions:

  • site senior executive
  • exploration manager
  • underground manager (non-coal) if the mine is an underground non-coal mine
  • underground manager (coal) if the mine is an underground coal mine
  • quarry manager if required under the WHS Mines Regulations (Schedule 26, clause 14).

Only one person at a time may be appointed to a key statutory position, however the mine operator must ensure there are sufficient appropriate persons appointed as alternates to temporarily carry out the position’s functions in the person’s place when required.

A person appointed to a key statutory position for a mine may be appointed to a statutory position for another mine if the regulator considers it appropriate and approves the appointment.

Only the site senior executive and the exploration manager appointments are required to be notified to the regulator, which is done through the Safety Regulation System (SRS). 

Accepting a statutory position appointment

Before taking up an appointment for a statutory position or as an alternate for a key statutory position, the person must accept that appointment in writing. 

Abbreviations used in eligibility summaries

The eligibility requirements for appointments to statutory positions are extracted from the WHS (Mines) Regulations, which should be consulted for full details of requirements and functions.

Non-certificated positions

  • Risk = Approved WHS risk management unit/s
  • Law = Applicable legislation examination
  • Qual = A qualification or licence is required for appointment
  • Spec = Appointment requires completion of a specialist course
  • Exp = Appointment has minimum experience requirements

Certificated positions

  • Stat Cert = Statutory certificates applicable to the statutory position
  • > 25/day = Eligible certificate for mines with, on average, more than 25 persons working underground or in quarry operations, as relevant to position, per day
  • ≤ 25/day = Eligible certificate for mines with, on average, 25 or fewer persons working underground or in quarry operations, as relevant to position, per day
  • Risk = Approved WHS risk management unit/s
  • Law = Applicable legislation examination
  • Qual = A qualification is specified for certification to proceed
  • MP = Mining practice examination
  • Age = Minimum age in years for certification to proceed
  • Exp = Certification has minimum experience requirements
  • 1st Aid = Certification requires first aid training
  • NPC = Certification requires person to be “of good character”, with assessment by Competence Advisory Committee based on National Police Certificate

Notifiable key statutory positions

Site senior executives

A mine is required to have a site senior executive if mining operations other than exploration will be carried out, and workers are employed at the mine. They provide control and management of the mine and mining operations so the mine complies with the WHS Act and WHS Mines Regulations, and manage and deal with any emergencies at the mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as the site senior executive of a mine if the person:

  • is the most senior executive located at or near the mine; and
  • is able to carry out the functions of the site senior executive under regulation 675ZJ in relation to the mine; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for site senior executives; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for site senior executives; and
  • works at a mine for at least 2 years.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X     X

Exploration managers

If a site senior executive is not appointed for a mine where only exploration operations are carried out, and workers are employed, then an exploration manager must be appointed. They provide control and management of the exploration operations so the mine complies with the WHS Act and WHS Mines Regulations.

A person is eligible to be appointed as the exploration manager of a mine if the person:

  • passes an applicable legislation examination for exploration managers; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit; and
  • works at a mine or in mining exploration for at least 2 years.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X     X

Other statutory positions

The mine operator must ensure sufficient appropriate persons are appointed to the statutory positions listed in Schedule 26 of the WHS Mines Regulations.

For a mine where only exploration operations are carried out, the regulator may exempt the mine operator from the requirement to appoint persons to Schedule 26 positions.

Underground managers (non-coal)

An underground manager (non-coal) must be appointed for an underground mine that is not a coal mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an underground manager (non-coal) for an underground non-coal mine if:

  • for a mine where, on average, more than 25 persons work underground per day, the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines; or
  • otherwise, the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines or underground supervisor’s certificate for non-coal mines.
Stat Cert First class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines Underground supervisor’s certificate for non-coal mines [with qualification] Underground supervisor’s certificate for non-coal mines [without qualification]
>25/day X    
≤ 25/day X X X
Risk X X X
Law X X X
Qual X X  
MP     X
Age 25 23 23
Exp X X X
1st Aid X X X
NPC X X  

Underground managers (coal)

An underground manager (coal) must be appointed for an underground coal mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an underground manager (coal) for an underground coal mine if:

  • for a mine where, on average, more than 25 persons work underground per day, the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines; or
  • otherwise, the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines or deputy’s certificate for underground coal mines.
Stat Cert First class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines Underground supervisor’s certificate for coal mines [with qualification] Underground supervisor’s certificate for coal mines [without qualification]
>25/day X    
≤ 25/day X X X
Risk X X X
Law X X X
Qual X X  
MP     X
Age 25 23 23
Exp X X X
1st Aid X X X
NPC X X X

Underground supervisors (non-coal)

An underground supervisor (non-coal) must be appointed for a supervised area in an underground mine that is not a coal mine. Supervised areas are allocated by the underground manager (non-coal).

A person is eligible to be appointed as an underground supervisor (non-coal) if the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines or underground supervisor’s certificate for non-coal mines.

Stat Cert First class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines Underground supervisor’s certificate [with qualification] Underground supervisor’s certificate without qualification]
Risk X X X
Law X X X
Qual X X  
MP     X
Age 25 23 23
Exp X X X
1st Aid X X X
NPC X X X

Underground supervisors (coal)

An underground manager (coal) must be appointed for a supervised area in an underground coal mine. Supervised areas are allocated by the underground manager (coal).

A person is eligible to be appointed as an underground supervisor (coal) if the person holds a first class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines or deputy’s certificate for underground coal mines.

Stat Cert First class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines Deputy’s certificate for underground coal mines [with qualification] Deputy’s certificate for underground coal mines [without qualification]
Risk X X X
Law X X X
Qual X X  
MP     X
Age 25 23 23
Exp X X X
1st Aid X X X
NPC X X X

Quarry managers

A quarry manager must be appointed for a mine where quarry operations are carried out and a levy is payable under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a quarry manager if the person holds:

  • for a mine where, on average, more than 25 persons per day carry out quarry operations, a first class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines; or a first class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines; or a quarry manager’s certificate; or
  • otherwise, a first class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines; or a first class mine manager’s certificate for non-coal mines; or a quarry manager’s certificate; or a restricted quarry manager’s certificate.
Stat Cert First class mine manager’s certificate for coal mines First class mine manager's certificate for coal mines  Quarry manager's certificate Restricted quarry manager's certificate
>25/day X X    
≤ 25/day X X X X
Risk X X X X
Law X X X X
Qual X X X  
MP       X
Age 25 25 24 21
Exp X X X  
1st Aid X X X X
NPC X X X X

Statutory supervisors

For mines where a levy is payable under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994, a statutory supervisor must be appointed for each:

  • laboratory
  • processing plant
  • quarry
  • workshop
  • place where the mine operator considers the position necessary to reduce the risks to health and safety associated with mining operations.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a statutory supervisor for a place at a mine if the person:

  • works for at least 2 years as a supervisor or worker in a similar operation or industry that the mine is engaged in; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for statutory supervisors; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for statutory supervisors.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X     X
 

Authorised mine surveyors (underground)

An authorised mine surveyor (underground) must be appointed for an underground mine where a mine survey plan must be prepared and maintained.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an authorised mine surveyor (underground) if the person holds an authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 1).

Stat Cert Authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 1)
Risk  
Law X
Qual X
MP X
Age  
Exp X
1st Aid  
NPC X

Authorised mine surveyors (quarry operation)

An authorised mine surveyor (quarry) must be appointed for a mine where quarry operations are carried out and a mine survey plan must be prepared and maintained.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an authorised mine surveyor (quarry operation) if the person holds an authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 1), or an authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 2).

Stat Cert Authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 1) Authorised mine surveyor’s certificate (grade 2)
Risk    
Law X  
Qual X  
MP X  
Age    
Exp X  
1st Aid    
NPC X
 
 

Underground ventilation officers

An underground ventilation officer must be appointed to monitor atmospheric conditions and manage ventilation at an underground mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an underground ventilation officer for a mine if the person:

  • has a diploma or degree that had a curriculum that focused substantially on underground mine ventilation; or an alternative qualification that the regulator approves for the mine; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for underground ventilation officers; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for underground ventilation officers; and
  • works for at least 2 years at an underground mine, at least 6 months of which is working with an underground ventilation officer.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X X X X

Mine air quality officers

A mine air quality officer is appointed to measure and manage workers’ exposure to airborne contaminants, heat or humidity at a mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a mine air quality officer for a mine if the person:

  • successfully completes a course about sampling and assessing airborne contaminants that is approved by the regulator under regulation 675ZZK(1)(c); and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for mine air quality officers; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for mine air quality officers.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X X X X

Radiation safety officers

A radiation safety officer is appointed to supervise the use or treatment of radioactive materials at a mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a radiation safety officer if the person:

  • has an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics; and
  • meets the eligibility requirements for a mine air quality officer; and
  • successfully completes a course about radiation protection from naturally-occurring radioactive material that is approved by the regulator under regulation 675ZZK(1)(a); and
  • works for at least 12 months under the supervision of a radiation safety officer; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for radiation safety officers; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for radiation safety officers.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X X X X

Noise officers

A noise officer is appointed to measure and manage noise exposures at a mine.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a noise officer if the person:

  • successfully completes a course about measuring noise and managing noise that is approved by the regulator under regulation 675ZZK(1)(b); and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for noise officers; and
  • passes an applicable legislation examination for noise officers.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X   X  

Electrical supervisors

An electrical supervisor must be appointed for a mine where electrical work is carried out by an electrician.

A person is eligible to be appointed as an electrical supervisor if the person:

  • has an electrician’s licence issued under the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 without restrictions; or holds a qualification in electrical engineering that makes the person eligible for professional engineer membership of the Institution of Engineers Australia; and
  • successfully completes an approved WHS risk management unit for electrical supervisors; and
  • works for at least 2 years carrying out electrical work in the mining industry or another heavy industry.
 
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
X X X X X

High voltage operators

A high voltage operator must be appointed for a mine that has high voltage installations, or where high voltage electricity is used.

A person is eligible to be appointed as a high voltage operator for a mine if:

  • the person successfully completes a high voltage operator training course that is approved by the regulator under regulation 675ZZK(1)(d); and
  • the site senior executive or exploration manager of the mine is satisfied that the person knows how to operate switchgear to isolate and re-energise high voltage equipment.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
      X X

Winding engine drivers

A winding engine driver must be appointed to operate the winder for a winding system at an underground mine if the winding system lowers and raises persons, material or plant in a mine shaft.

Class 1 engine (winder for a winding system that has a power input of 75 kW or more)

A person is eligible to be appointed as a winding engine driver for a class 1 engine at an underground mine if the person:

  • has assisted in operating a class 1 engine for at least 300 hours under the supervision of a winding engine driver eligible to operate a class 1 engine; and
  • is assessed, in accordance with a system of assessment decided by the mine operator or site senior executive of the mine, as being competent to operate the class 1 engine.
Risk Law Qual Spec Exp
        X

 

Class 2 engine (winder for a winding system that has a power input of less than 75 kW)

A person is eligible to be appointed as a winding engine driver for a class 2 engine at an underground mine if the person:

  • has assisted in operating a winder for a winding system for at least 300 hours under the supervision of a winding engine driver eligible to operate a winder; and

  • is assessed, in accordance with a system of assessment decided by the mine operator or site senior executive of the mine, as being competent to operate the class 2 engine.

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