Responding to the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy

The Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy and the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety recommended changes to health and safety at work.

Implementing the recommendations

A major policy programme in 2013 implemented the recommendations of the Royal Commission, through the:

These Acts made changes in 5 important areas:

  • health and safety management systems
  • minimum standards
  • safety critical roles, training and competencies
  • worker participation
  • emergency management.

Safe mines: safe workers

We made significant changes to mining regulation in 2013.

We developed these changes with help from an expert reference group of mining, health and safety and regulatory experts from New Zealand and abroad.

These changes are outlined in the Quick Guide and the Implementation Update:

Safe Mines: Safe Workers Quick Guide [PDF, 1.4 MB]

December 2013 Pike River Implementation Final Update [PDF, 363 KB]

We consulted with the public, and received feedback through written submissions and meetings held around New Zealand:

Safe Mines: Safe Workers – public discussion documents – Volume 1 [PDF, 2.2 MB]

Safe Mines: Safe Workers – public discussion documents – Volume 2 [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Safe Mines: Safe Workers – response to submissions [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Other responses

Further work responding to the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy included:

  • an emergency response protocol to ensure a coordinated response to any future major underground mining emergency
  • an independent investigation advising on any implications of the Royal Commission’s report for the Ministry as an employer, from the Commission’s findings
  • People Come First [PDF, 2.5 MB], a reference for managers of mines, quarries and tunnelling operations, to help establish, maintain and promote a strong health and safety culture.

Pike River Recovery Agency

Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa, the Pike River Recovery Agency, is focused on developing a plan to:

  • safely re-enter the Pike River mine drift
  • give the Pike River families closure
  • promote accountability for this tragedy
  • help prevent future mining tragedies.

Pike River Recovery Agency(external link)

Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety

The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety was established in June 2012 to evaluate whether New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system was fit for purpose.

The Taskforce found that, while there was no single critical factor behind New Zealand’s poor health and safety record, the system had a number of significant weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety(external link)

To respond to the Taskforce's recommendations, we developed Working Safer: A blueprint for health and safety at work. It outlined a package of change to improve health and safety at work. This was the most significant reform in 20 years and aimed at reducing New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020.

Working Safer: A blueprint for health and safety at work [PDF, 319 KB]

A core part of the Working Safer package is the work we're doing on health and safety at work legislative reform.

Health and safety reform