Basis for code of practice

This code of practice is issued by Resources Safety under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994, with the endorsement of the Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) and approval from the Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

A code of practice is a practical guide to achieving the standards of occupational safety and health required under legislation. It applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code. In most cases, following a code of practice would achieve compliance with the duties in the legislation in relation to the subject matter of the code. However, like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise. Duty holders need to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.

Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates. However, compliance with the legislation may be achieved by following another method, such as a technical or an industry standard, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the code.
An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.

Scope and application

This code of practice will assist those involved with mobile autonomous mining in Western Australia to meet their legislative obligations for work health and safety under the Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994.

  • It is designed to provide guidance on:
  • mobile autonomous and semi-autonomous systems used in surface and underground mines and quarries
  • developing and evaluating safe work procedures for such systems.

It focuses on:

  • the control of autonomous loaders, trucks and other mobile equipment such as drills and dozers at mine sites
  • the identification of the unique risk profiles in relation to new or existing mobile autonomous mining systems.
  • The provisions of this code of practice apply to all mines as defined in section 4(1) of the Act, except those extracting coal by underground mining.

The code of practice does not apply to:

  • remote operations centres
  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • remote controlled systems, but parts could be relevant to mobile tele-remote systems if they incorporate additional functionality that takes autonomous control of machines
  • autonomous functionality of a process or machine that moves on
    –– fixed infrastructure such as rail (e.g. trains, stackers, reclaimers)
    –– a fixed base (e.g. laboratory robots).

Who should use this code of practice?

You should use this code of practice if you have functions and responsibilities for planning, designing, implementing and maintaining mobile autonomous mining systems. The code of practice may also be useful for supervisors, operations personnel, and safety and health representatives who need to understand the hazards associated with mobile autonomous mining systems.

How to use this code of practice?

The code of practice includes references to both mandatory and non-mandatory actions.
The words “must” or “requires” indicate that legal requirements exist, which must be complied with. The word “should” indicates a recommended course of action.