Working out whether you are a ‘quarry operator’


MinEx, the national Health & Safety Council for the minerals industry, has worked out a clever, online flowchart that has been adapted from a WorkSafe document called ‘Am I a Mining Operation?’

The flowchart is there to assist contracting industries in understanding potential obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013.

MinEx says there are many instances where companies are engaged in activities that fall under the definition of Quarry Operations as defined in the December 16, 2013 amendment to the Act. Operations that fall under these regulations are subject to a number of codes, guidelines and new regulations.

“Industries where confusion is most likely are: Earthmoving, whether it be via contractors or a company’s own equipment; road construction; and farming.

“The main issues that all quarry operators need to be aware of are: You will need to have a person in charge of each quarry site that holds a Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by the Board of Examiners; and a number of WorkSafe guidelines and approved codes of practice, the most important of which is the WorkSafe good practice guideline entitled: Health and Safety at Surface Mines, Alluvial Mines and Quarries which is expected to be issued in June 2015.”

A CoC is proof that the holder has achieved the required level of knowledge (unit standards) and relevant experience to safely operate a quarry, says MinEx. A Board of Examiners was set up by WorkSafe late in 2014 and is made up of a number of industry sector experts. The quarry sector board members are Andy Loader, Steve Ellis and Dean Torstonson and details of the board can be found on the WorkSafe website.

The Board has a number of duties including: Advice to WorkSafe on competency requirements for mine workers; examine applicants, or have applicants examined for certificates of competence; and issue, renew, cancel and suspend certificates of competence.

The two certificates of competency required in any quarry operation are either an A Grade Quarry Certificate or a B Grade Quarry Certificate. The MinEx Flowsheet will assist you in determining which is required.

Any operation that, having worked through the Flowchart, decides it is a Quarry Operation but does not have the appropriate CoC holder managing the operation, should contact WorkSafe and advise them of the situation.

Meantime, Quarry Operations operating without a CoC still have time to organise the qualification. WorkSafe (High Hazard Unit or HHU) has issued a position paper on this issue. If a quarry manager does not have the required certificate of competence, an HHU Extractives inspector will consider issuing an improvement notice under Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 for a period of up to one year to enable the quarry manager to gain the certificate of competence. If this improvement notice is issued it will state that the quarry may continue to operate while the quarry manager gains the relevant certificate of competence.

Before an inspector makes a decision to issue an improvement notice the quarry operator will need to advise HHU Extractives on how health and safety systems are being implemented in the quarrying operation and satisfy HHU Extractives that safety is being appropriately managed.

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