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Work to address Royal Commission recommendations complete

Work to address Pike River Royal Commission recommendations complete

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the completion of the major policy programme to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

“With the completion of this critically important work, the Government has met the commitment we made in December 2012 to respond to all the Commission’s recommendations by the end of this year,” says Mr Joyce.

Key milestones include the passage of the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill last month, which enabled the new workplace health and safety regulator WorkSafe New Zealand which became operational this week.

This legislation also paved the way for the new regime for mining health and safety, including the new Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013. These also came into effect this week, however existing operations will have one year to comply with the new requirements.

“These changes represent the creation of a comprehensive framework that will shape better behaviour and help drive a best practice health and safety culture in mining workplaces,” says Mr Bridges.

Through the Mines Rescue Act, the coverage and functions of the Mines Rescue Service have been extended, with the new service to be operational from 1 April 2014.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of the Expert Reference Group and thank New Zealand’s mining industry and unions in the mining sector for working closely and constructively with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to get us to this point,” says Mr Joyce.

“The Royal Commission found there were systemic failures in the mining health and safety regulatory regime and that New Zealand’s mining regulations were inconsistent with international best practice. The work done this year will help ensure that we have a robust health and safety framework which will protect the lives of miners everywhere,” says Mr Bridges.

“Government will continue to progress the Health and Safety Reform Bill and workplace health and safety reform programme Working Safer which responds to recommendations of Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.”

Full details of the Pike Implementation Plan is here:
http://www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/pike-river-implementation-plan/pike-river-implementation-plan

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