Health and Safety supervision is a function applicable to Queensland mining and quarrying operations. The role deals with the provision of information, instruction and training on-site. It involves analytical skills applied to assess high danger working conditions. Application of mining and quarrying specific knowledge is key to prepare for dangers. Supervision processes must foster adaptability to react to different situations. This influences how well mining and quarrying operations achieve safety and health objectives. The setting of our discussion is in Queensland, Australia. Department of Natural Mines, Resources and Energy produced the Guidance Note in 2006. The Guidance Note was for Effective Supervision of Safety and Health. It was from a coronial inquest into an incident at a Queensland metalliferous mine. Guidance Note provides practical guidance for operators, Senior Site Executives (SSEs) and supervisors. High competence and dynamism are key to safety and health supervision. The person in charge needs to be proactive and expect potential dangers. The article discusses safety and health supervision in Queensland mines and quarries. It tackles the qualities of an effective safety and health supervisor. We wrap up our discussion with mine and quarry dust control from Global Road Technology. This will be in synergy with effective safety and health supervision.

What is Queensland’s approach to health and safety supervision?

Mining and quarrying industries are high health risk occupations. Exposure to health hazards such as silica dust and coal dust pose health hazards to workers. Effective safety and health supervision save lives as addressed by the Guidance Note. Every organization must ensure that risk to workers is at an acceptable level. The go-between the management and the workers is the supervisor. They must interpret senior management directions. Theirs is to also foster the safety culture in the safety and health management system. The backing of mine and quarry operator is important to achieve effective supervision. The Guidance Note applies to operations in the:

Advisory Councils publish national competencies for mine safety legislation in Queensland. There are Quality Management System (QMS) 1, 2 and 3. They relate to risk management, investigations and communications. Competency updates take place through review by the councils. The Guidance Note offers a range of questionnaires. These have key points for different levels of management. They assist in determining the effectiveness of supervisory responsibilities and support. 

Where does supervision meet safety and health outcomes?

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

Supervision meets safety and health on achieving positive outcomes. Safety standards compliance and cutting dust at its source are some positive outcomes. The attributes, behaviour and action of supervisors determine these outcomes. The key pillars core to the delivery of positive outcomes are:

  • risk management 
  • supportive supervision
  • supervisor autonomy 
  • participative supervision 

The supervisor must translate organisational values into practical safety and health activities. It should coincide with minimizing health hazards from mining and quarrying activities. There must be a commitment to regular safety meeting with workers. Accountability is non-negotiable at all times. Responding to worker initiatives plays a key role in developing engineering controls. Commitment to safety and health programs and training keeps the supervisor competent. The supervisor must take part in job observations, inspections and investigations. Supervisors must show skills and commitment to the identification of hazards and controls. This allows for a high standard in risk management. Conduct with workers should be open about safety and health issues. Safety and health discussions ought to be common. Feedback encourages participation and enables fairness which must be upheld at all times. As a safety and health supervisor, one must have specific and reasonable responsibilities. Exercising authority targets fulfilling positive safety and health outcomes. 

The role of a supervisor at mining and quarrying operations


Skills and competencies for supervision vary at different mining and quarrying operations. A competent supervisor should have several attributes. They should have the ability to communicate, motivate and lead. Delegation, planning and organising are key. There should empower, develop teamwork, train, coach and mentor. Supervisors in the mining and quarry industry should solve problems. There must manage information, understand the crew’s strength and limitations. All the mentioned qualities are ideal. The most important thing is being an effective supervisor. Dust from mining and quarrying activities is a huge problem. It causes silicosis and this can lead to death. An effective supervisor advocates for dust suppression at its source. This balances the competing demands of safety versus production. The workers do not have to bear the brunt of dust. In identifying and controlling the dust hazard the supervisor saves lives. Preferable would be to cut dust at its source. This takes problem-solving skills and resolute decision making as a supervisor. 

The synergy between effective safety and health supervision and industry best practice

There are synergies between effective safety and health supervision and industry best practice. The earlier hazard identification is the imminent a solution is. This reduces the risk of prolonged exposure. For example, dust generation at different mining operations must be eliminated. The Health and safety of workers is mandatory and compliance with legislation is non-negotiable. It is one life too many if workers are over-exposed to dust which creates health problems. If workers are given the opportunity to share then dust problems can be attended to faster. The role of the supervisor is to foster an open-door policy for action to be taken as soon as anything is reported. 

Global Road Technology provides innovative solutions to dust control. Australia is a water-scarce and drought-stricken country. Using less water benefits the water conversation efforts in the country. The incentive to Global Road Technology is that dust is bound at its source with dust suppression products that use less water. 

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