Health management

To improve coordination of health issues in the mining and extractives industries MSAC has endorsed a new guide to assist sites in developing a health management plan to address the contemporary and traditional health issues.


Traditionally, mining health issues have played second fiddle to safety issues when addressing the risks facing employees in the mining industry. While safety often presents the most immediate risk, the long-term health of employees is of no less importance.

The guide to the development and implementation of a health management plan aims to help the industry manage work, health and safety risks in the same systematic way they address safety risks. It will also help mines and quarries to better understand their existing legislative obligations in managing occupational health risks. Each section of the guide considers a specific aspect of the plan and provides an overview, information on the actions required, other desirable actions and a list of resources.


Guide to the development and implementation of a health management plan
Health management plan toolkit
Literature review
Summary of priority health issues matrix

Focus on Health series –
Focus on atmospheric contaminants causing respiratory illness
Focus on atmospheric contaminants causing respiratory illness (delivery guide)
Focus on dermatitis
Focus on UV radiation
Focus on noise
Focus on noise (delivery guide)


The guide is supported by an education and assistance program overseen by MSAC and co-ordinated by the Mining Industry Assistance Unit in partnership with industry stakeholders.

Safety Incentive Schemes

The NSW Wran Review into Mine Safety Review recommended that an independent assessment of production bonus and safety incentive schemes be undertaken.  As a result of this, MSAC commissioned Shaw Idea to undertake research on this and other issues in the NSW mining and extractives industry, now known as the Digging Deeper Project.


If your workplace has a safety incentive scheme it is important that the scheme is reviewed. Safety incentive schemes can have a negative impact on workplace safety if not designed effectively, especially in cases where they could be seen to be penalising staff for reporting injuries. Safety incentive schemes should always reward employees who take positive steps to improve workplace safety at sites.

The Mine Safety Advisory Council requests operators that have a safety incentive scheme in place to undertake a review of their current scheme.

MSAC has revised the tool to review safety incentive schemes to assist the industry in the transition from safety incentive schemes that focus on lag indicators, to schemes that focus on lead indicators. Importantly, in the longer-term, with world-leading WHS performance, safety incentive schemes may no longer be required.

The Tool to review safety incentive schemes in the mining and extractives industry in NSW is a result of extensive consultation and demonstrates the commitment that union and employer stakeholders have to the MSAC partnership.

MSD – Musculoskeletal Disorders and Participative Ergonomics

The MSD Project was initiated by MSAC as a focus point for industry efforts to improve musculoskeletal disorder prevention and is overseen by the Health Working Party.


MSDs are a serious health concern for the NSW mining and extractives industry. Musculoskeletal injuries account for more than 40 per cent of workers compensation claims in the NSW mining and extractives industry.  Hazards leading to these injuries are included in the list of contemporary priority health issues.

MSDs can occur suddenly as a result of a single forceful action or develop over long periods as symptoms associated with minor tissue injuries are ignored, eventually resulting in a more serious injury.  Many workers performing repetitive tasks or work of a similar nature fall into the longer-term category.

The Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC) has endorsed a new guide called the Guide to the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Mining and Extractives Industry which is designed to help sites take planned preventative measures to deal with risks associated with musculoskeletal injuries.

Participative Ergonomics (PE)

The NSW Trade & Investment has developed a participative ergonomics (PE) facilitator guide that empowers stakeholders to confidently facilitate their own PE program and tackle the ongoing issue of musculoskeletal disorders within the NSW mining and extractives sector.

The Don’t Make Yourself Bloody Useless is a holistic PE program encompassing key ergonomics principles and a strong communication strategy to assist in the reduction of musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of the PE program is to use the workers as task experts and equip them with the knowledge and tools to identify hazardous manual tasks and provide solutions to them to reduce hazards.

Participative Ergonomics – Train the work teams facilitator’s guide

Awareness Survey

A study was conducted during 2012 to measure awareness of, and beliefs surrounding the causes and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among NSW mining employees. The report into this study was published during October 2013 and is available below.

During the study, some 1316 valid questionnaires were completed across 19 sites and all mining sectors.The main aims of the study were to gain an understanding of what NSW mine workers know about MSDs and to provide baseline data for evaluation of the department’s participatory ergonomics program.


The MSD and PE program of work is moving from a data collection, analysis and consultation phase into implementing an education and assistance phase being delivered by Trade and Investment NSW’s Industry Assistance Unit.