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:
- WorkSafe New Zealand Act 2013(external link) – creating WorkSafe NZ as a stand-alone regulatory agency
- Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act 2013(external link)
- Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013(external link)
- Mines Rescue Act 2013(external link) and Mines Rescue (Levy) Regulations 2014, to support the functions of the Mines Rescue Service.
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:
We consulted with the public, and received feedback through written submissions and meetings held around New Zealand:
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.
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.
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.
A core part of the Working Safer package is the work we're doing on health and safety at work legislative reform.