Quarry definitions: new flowchart resource


A new Flowchart Resource has been developed to assist relevant industries in understanding their 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.

There are many instances where company activities meet the definition of Quarry Operations in the 16 December 2013 amendment to the Act. These operations are subject to a number of codes, guidelines and regulations that a company needs to be aware of and to follow.

Wairere Serpentine at PioPio
Wairere Serpentine at PioPio

The industries where confusion is most likely are earthmoving (whether via contractors or company’s own equipment), road construction and farming, and the three main issues that quarry operators need to be aware of are; the need to have a person in charge who holds a Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by the Board of Examiners; being clear on whether the operation falls under certain sections of the 2013 regulations referred to above, and, being aware of, and following 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.

Certificates of competency

A CoC is proof that the holder has achieved the required level of knowledge (unit standards) and relevant experience to safely operate a quarry. A Board of Examiners was established by Worksafe late in 2014 and consists of a number of industry sectors 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 here.

The Board has a number of duties including advising WorkSafe on competency requirements for mine workers, examining applicants, or have applicants examined for certificates of competence; and issuing  renewing, canceling and suspending 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 Flowsheet will assist you in determining which of these you require.

Unit standard details and knowledge needed to get a CoC can be obtained through MITO.

Application of the 2103 regulations

Most of the regulations currently only apply to Mining Operations. However Quarry Operations are subject to the following sections:

  • Part I – Safety-critical roles and competency requirements – excluding sub-parts 1 & 3;
  • Part II – Transitional provisions, revocations, and consequential amendments; and,
  • Schedule 1 – Application, savings, and transitional provisions.

 Good practice guidelines

blasting sign Ngarua
Blasting sign at Ngarua

These are documents that have been developed by WorkSafe to support the 2013 regulations. They provide you with guidelines to assist you to meet your obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

These guidelines, including the latest draft of Health and Safety at Surface Mines, Alluvial Mines and Quarries, can be found on the WorkSafe website here.

 Will I be shut down if I continue to operate without a CoC holder

The answer to that is no. WorkSafe (High Hazard Unit or HHU) has issued a position paper on this issue that can be found here.

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.

Any operations that, having worked through the Flowchart, decide they are a Quarry Operation and do not have the appropriate CoC holder managing the operation, should contact WorkSafe and advise them of the situation.


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