Coal Mine Health and Safety Act 2002 No 129
Current version for 1 January 2014 to date (accessed 23 November 2014 at 18:08)
Part 10Division 3Subdivision 1

Subdivision 1 Site check inspectors

157   Site check inspectors

(1)  For the purpose of enabling inspections to be carried out at a coal operation on behalf of the people at work at the coal operation, an individual may be elected as a site check inspector for the coal operation.
(2)  More than one person may be elected as a site check inspector if the operator agrees or the Chief Inspector directs.

158   Trigger for election

An election of a site check inspector for a coal operation must be held if one or more positions are vacant and:
(a)  a person employed in or about the coal operation requests in writing that an election be held, or
(b)  the Chief Inspector directs that an election be held.

159   Conduct of election of site check inspectors

(1)  An election for a site check inspector for a coal operation may be conducted:
(a)  if there is only one involved union in relation to the coal operation—by that involved union, or
(b)  if there is more than one involved union and all the involved unions are in agreement that a specified one of those unions should conduct the election—by that specified union, or
(c)  if there is no involved union in relation to the coal operation or agreement under paragraph (b) cannot be reached—by a person authorised by the Chief Inspector to conduct elections under this section.
(2)  A person employed in or about the coal operation may be a candidate in the election if and only if:
(a)  the person is not disqualified under section 161, and
(b)  the person is employed at the coal operation and has at least 3 years’ experience working at the coal operation or at a coal operation of the same type or has the other practical experience required by the regulations.
(3)  However, a person with less than 3 years’ experience may be a candidate for election if the Chief Inspector determines that the 3-year requirement is impractical in a particular case.
(4)  Subject to the regulations, all individuals employed in or about the coal operation are entitled to vote in the election.
(5)  Where there is only one candidate for the election, that person is taken to have been elected.
(6)  Where a person is elected as the site check inspector for a coal operation, the involved union or other person authorised under subsection (1) to conduct the election must, as soon as practicable after the person has been so elected, inform the Chief Inspector, the industry check inspector and the operator of the coal operation.
(7)  As soon as practicable after being so informed, the operator of the coal operation must cause a notice that the person so elected is the site check inspector for the coal operation to be displayed in a prominent place at the coal operation, that will allow all of the persons working in or about the coal operation to be notified of the election.

Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.

160   Term of office

Subject to sections 161 and 162, a site check inspector for a coal operation holds office for 2 years after the date on which he or she was elected but is eligible to be elected for further terms of office.

161   Disqualification of site check inspectors

(1)  An application for the disqualification of a site check inspector for a coal operation may be made to the Chief Inspector by the operator of a coal operation, by all the individuals employed in or about a coal operation or by an involved union in relation to the coal operation, on one or both of the following grounds:
(a)  that action taken by the site check inspector in the exercise or purported exercise of a power under this Act was taken:
(i)  with the intention of causing harm to the operator of the coal operation or to an undertaking of the operator, or
(ii)  unreasonably, capriciously or otherwise than for the purpose for which the power was conferred on the site check inspector,
(b)  that the site check inspector has intentionally used, or disclosed to another person, for a purpose that is not connected with the exercise of a power of a site check inspector, information acquired from the operator of a coal operation.
(2)  If, after receiving an application under subsection (1), the Chief Inspector is satisfied that the site check inspector has acted in a manner referred to in subsection (1) (a) or (b), the Chief Inspector may, after having regard to:
(a)  the harm (if any) that was caused to the operator of the coal operation or to an undertaking of the operator as a result of the action of the site check inspector, and
(b)  the past record of the site check inspector in exercising the powers of a site check inspector, and
(c)  the effect (if any) on the public interest of the action of the Chief Inspector, and
(c1)  the views of the site check inspector, and any involved union that represents the site check inspector, concerning the disqualification, and
(d)  any other matters that the Chief Inspector thinks relevant to his or her investigation,
disqualify the site check inspector, for a specified period not exceeding 5 years, from being a site check inspector for any coal operation.

162   Vacation of office of site check inspector

(1)  A person ceases to be the site check inspector for a coal operation if:
(a)  the person resigns as the site check inspector, or
(b)  the person ceases to be employed in or about the coal operation, or
(c)  the person’s term of office expires without the person having been elected to be the site check inspector for the coal operation for a further term, or
(d)  the person is disqualified under section 161.
(2)  A person may resign as the site check inspector for a coal operation:
(a)  if the person was last elected as the site check inspector in an election conducted by an involved union in relation to the coal operation—by notice in writing delivered to the involved union that nominated the person as a candidate in the election, or
(b)  in any case—by notice in writing delivered to the operator of the coal operation.
(3)  If a person has resigned as the site check inspector for a coal operation:
(a)  if subsection (2) (a) applies—the involved union to which the notice of resignation was delivered, or
(b)  in any other case—the operator of the coal operation,
must notify the persons employed at or about the coal operation, and, in a case to which subsection (2) (a) applies, the operator of the coal operation, of the resignation.
(4)  If a person has ceased to be the site check inspector for a coal operation because of subsection (1) (b), the person must notify the following persons in writing that the person has ceased to be the site check inspector for that coal operation:
(a)  the persons employed at or about the coal operation,
(b)  the operator of the coal operation,
(c)  if the person was last elected as the site check inspector in an election conducted by an involved union in relation to the coal operation—the involved union, in relation to the coal operation, that nominated the person as a candidate in the election.

163   Notification of election

A person elected as a site check inspector for a coal operation must:
(a)  notify the operator of the coal operation of the person’s election, and
(b)  give to the operator the person’s address and telephone number (including any mobile telephone number).

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

164   Functions of site check inspectors

The functions of a site check inspector for a coal operation are as follows:
(a)  to keep under review the measures taken to ensure the health, safety and welfare of people at the coal operation, including procedures to control risks,
(b)  to investigate any matter that may be a risk to health and safety at the coal operation,
(c)  to request an investigation by an inspector if a health, safety or welfare matter is not resolved after attempts to do so,
(d)  to inspect a coal operation to assess the level of risk to which employees are exposed,
(e)  to inspect documents and plans relating to health, safety and welfare that are required to be kept at the coal operation by this Act or the regulations or by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 or the regulations made under that Act,
(f)  any other functions prescribed by the regulations.

165   Training of site check inspectors

(1)  A site check inspector for a coal operation must undertake a course of training relating to work health and safety that is accredited by the Minister for the purposes of this section.
(2)  The operator of a coal operation must permit the site check inspector for the coal operation to take any time off work, without loss of remuneration or other entitlements, that is necessary to undertake the training.

166   Rights of site check inspectors

(1)  A site check inspector:
(a)  has the right to be present when an inspector makes a formal report to the operator concerning a health, safety or welfare matter at the coal operation, and
(b)  has the right to accompany an employee, at the request of the employee, during any interview with the operator or a contractor about a health, safety or welfare matter at the coal operation, and
(c)  has the right to observe any formal in-house investigation of an event or other occurrence at the coal operation that must be notified to the Chief Inspector, and
(d)  has the right to require assistance and access to facilities that are reasonably necessary for the exercise of his or her functions.
(2)  A person must not obstruct a site check inspector in the exercise of any right conferred on the inspector by this Act.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

167   Duties of operators in relation to site check inspectors

The operator of a coal operation must:
(a)  on being requested to do so by a site check inspector for the coal operation, consult with the site check inspector on the implementation of changes at the coal operation, being changes that may affect the health or safety of persons at work at the coal operation, and
(b)  permit the site check inspector to make any inspection of the coal operation that the site check inspector is entitled to make under this Act, and to accompany an investigator during any investigation at the coal operation by the investigator, and
(c)  if there is no health and safety committee (established under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011) in respect of the operator’s employees at the coal operation—on being requested to do so by the site check inspector, consult with the site check inspector concerning the development, implementation and review of measures to ensure the health or safety of persons at work at the coal operation, and
(d)  permit the site check inspector to be present at any interview at which the site check inspector is entitled to be present under this Act, and
(e)  provide the site check inspector with access to any information to which the site check inspector is entitled to obtain access in accordance with this Act and to which access has been requested, and
(f)  provide the site check inspector with reasonable time, during normal working hours, to exercise the functions of the site check inspector without loss of remuneration or other entitlements, and
(g)  provide the site check inspector with access to any facilities that are:
(i)  prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph, or
(ii)  necessary for the purposes of exercising the powers of a site check inspector.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

168   Duties of contractors in relation to site check inspectors

A contractor carrying out work at a coal operation must:
(a)  on being requested to do so by a site check inspector for the coal operation, consult with the site check inspector on the implementation of changes at any coal operation at which employees of the contractor perform work for the contractor, being changes that may affect the health or safety at work of the employees, and
(b)  permit the site check inspector to make any inspection of the coal operation that the site check inspector is entitled to make under this Act, and to accompany an investigator during any investigation at the coal operation by the investigator, and
(c)  if there is no health and safety committee (established under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011) in respect of the contractor’s employees at the coal operation—upon being requested to do so by the site check inspector, consult with the site check inspector concerning the development, implementation and review of measures to ensure the health or safety at work of those employees, and
(d)  permit the site check inspector to be present at any interview at which the site check inspector is entitled to be present under this Act, and
(e)  provide the site check inspector with access to any information to which the site check inspector is entitled to obtain access in accordance with this Act and to which access has been requested, and
(f)  if the site check inspector is an employee of the contractor, provide the site check inspector with reasonable time, during normal working hours, to exercise the functions of the site check inspector, without loss of remuneration or other entitlements.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

169   Assistance to site check inspectors

The operator of a coal operation and all other people at the coal operation must afford every facility and assistance to a site check inspector for the purposes of an inspection of the coal operation by the site check inspector.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

170   Reports by site check inspectors

(1)  A site check inspector for a coal operation must, within 7 days after making an inspection of the coal operation or of any part of the coal operation, send to the operator of the coal operation a report of the results of the inspection.

Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.

(2)  A report under subsection (1) in respect of a coal operation or a part of a coal operation must be kept at the coal operation by the operator of the coal operation for at least 12 months after it is made.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

171   Reporting of dangers

(1)  A report of the finding, during any inspection by a site check inspector for a coal operation, of:
(a)  noxious or flammable gas, or
(b)  the existence of self-heating by coal or other material, or
(c)  any other condition from which danger to the coal operation or to the safety or health of persons employed at the coal operation may be apprehended,
must be recorded by the site check inspector in a book or other form of records (to be kept at the coal operation by the operator for that purpose) on the day of the inspection and before the site check inspector leaves the coal operation following the inspection.
(2)  If any report recorded under subsection (1) in respect of a coal operation states the existence, or suspected existence, of any danger, the operator must immediately inform the Chief Inspector of the contents of the report and cause a copy of the report to be sent to the Chief Inspector.
(3)  The regulations may prescribe how the Chief Inspector is required to be informed under this section and what must be reported to the Chief Inspector.
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