Implementation review of the Health and Safety at Work (Mining and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016

Submissions closed: 28 September 2018, 5pm

We are undertaking a targeted, post-implementation review of the Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016.

The discussion document was emailed to stakeholders in the mining, quarrying and tunnelling sectors. Feedback on detailed options and proposals was due by Friday 28 September 2018 by email to

Note, the consultation was initially due to close in August 2018, but extended to give stakeholders more time to consider the proposals.

The purpose of the review

The review is to test that the regulations are working as expected and to consider further regulation of quarries. It fulfils a commitment that the Government made to industry in 2013 to provide reassurance about the speed of developing major new regulations within a single year.

The review is not re-opening the full policy work from 2013 that was based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

About the discussion document

The discussion document is detailed because it responds to issues raised in mid-2017 with us and WorkSafe by MinEx and the Aggregate and Quarrying Association (AQA).

Cabinet decisions

  • In December 2019 Cabinet agreed to changes to the mining and quarrying regulations, which will complete the work to improve New Zealand’s health and safety regime for mines and quarries that began after the 2010 Pike River tragedy.
  • The Cabinet paper and minute for Health and Safety in Mines and Quarries: Proposed Regulatory Changes has been released and is available to read here:
  • These changes will:
    • Bring quarries and alluvial mines into the risk-management framework outlined in the regulations, which will require quarries with similar risks to mines to manage these risks in the same ways, and
    • Fix some technical matters to ensure the regulations are proportionate for different types of mines, keep workers safe, and continue to work in the future.
  • The changes were identified in the implementation review undertaken by MBIE in 2018 and 2019. The review had input from key stakeholders in the mining, tunnelling and quarrying industries and found that:
    • There was a case for further hazard management of quarries and alluvial mines in the regulations and
    • The regulations as they related to mines are robust, but that aspects of the regulations are operating in a disproportionate way, imposing processes and costs on lower-risk mines in a way that was not intended in 2013.
  • MBIE will work with WorkSafe to develop the regulations and determine suitable transition periods for some of the key changes. A targeted exposure draft will be released to key industry stakeholders, before the regulations are finalised mid-2020.

Quarries and alluvial mines

  • This change will introduce a graduated system of risk management requirements for quarries and alluvial mines.
  • A small number of quarries and alluvial mines have similar risks to mines, and will be required to follow the same risk management process as mines. Lower risk quarries will also have proportionate risk management requirements.
    • Quarries and alluvial mines that require an A-grade manager will need to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether they have certain principal hazards (ground/strata instability, road/vehicle operating areas, explosives, health (primarily dust), and emergency management).
    • If these principal hazards exist, the quarry or alluvial mine will need to put a principal hazard management plan in place to manage them.
    • All quarries and alluvial mines will be required to prepare a documented health and safety management system, and to undertake baseline health monitoring for ongoing workers.
    • Quarries that require a B-grade manager will also be required to get geotechnical advice for high working faces.
  • In addition, the threshold to determine whether an A- or B-grade quarry manager is required will be re-set. The reference to explosives will be removed as this is an outdated test of risk. Instead, A-grade quarry managers will be required for quarries where more than four workers ordinarily work doing quarrying work. We will allow a suitable transition period for any quarries and alluvial mines where the manager now needs an A-grade certificate of competence.


  • The implementation review confirmed that the regulations and the regime introduced in 2013 is working well, but that a small number of changes were needed to make sure the regulations were clear to everyone.
  • In particular, the regulations don’t clearly reflect that some mines (such as surface mines) do not have the same risks as underground coal mines, and therefore do not have the same risk management needs.
  • The changes are technical in nature and will ensure that it is clear the risk management requirements that are applied to mines are applied proportionately to the level of risk involved.

Other changes

  • The review identified a small number of things that just needed to be fixed, including
    • Clarifying the requirement for worker participation in the development of health and safety management systems. This builds on the requirements in the Act.
    • Clarifying that baseline health monitoring is only required for ongoing workers.
  • The alluvial mine manager certificate of competence (CoC) will be separated out from the quarry mine manager. As alluvial mines are generally simpler than quarries, this will allow for lower competency requirements to be set.

Process from here

  • MBIE is working with WorkSafe to develop the draft regulations.
  • Cabinet has agreed to the release of an exposure draft of the regulations to key industry stakeholders, including MinEx, E tū, the Mining Board of Examiners and the Extractives Industry Advisory Group. MBIE will coordinate this process in late 2020.
  • Once the regulations are made we know that the industry will need time to make changes, so there will be a transition period for some of the key changes. MBIE will work with WorkSafe to determine a suitable transition period, and discuss this with stakeholders along with the exposure draft.

Consultation document

Last updated: 07 February 2020