July 12, 2022

Hopefully, everyone operating in the resources sector knows that the Western Australian Government’s new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws have now come into effect as of the 31st of March 2022. The law will improve protections for the state’s workers, including those in the mining and resources sector. They are to also recognise modern work relationships such as subcontractors and gig economy workers, and introduce the term ‘person conducting a business undertaking’. This means anyone who engages a WA worker has a duty to protect their health and safety.

We take a closer look at the reference to Geotechnical Structures under ‘Quarry Operations’ in the New WA Work Health & Safety Laws.

In this context, the term ‘geotechnical structures’ is used because it is more encompassing than ‘open pits’, and the regulations are aiming to cover a broad range of activities. For example, under the new regulations, the requirement to manage risks to health and safety applies anywhere that work is carried out near an edge of a geotechnical structure during the day or night (e.g. tailings dam lift, tipping at waste dumps, operating in open pits).

The new regulations are more encompassing with the use of the term ‘geotechnical structures’ to cover all situations on a site involving excavation or placement of materials. Whereas the previous regulations solely gave detailed directives for management of tipping at waste dumps and stockpiles in section 13.5 and the management of night-time open pit activities in section 13.6.

So, while the previous regulations implied these requirements, they are explicitly stated in the new regulations.

Reference to Geotechnical Structures under 'Quarry Operations' in the New WA Work Health & Safety Laws
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The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and is based on MineGeoTech’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained in this article, MineGeoTech, its officers, employees and agents disclaim all liability for any error, inaccuracy in, or omission from the information contained in this article or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.
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grounded in rigorous data analysis, enabling robust design.

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