The Coal Industry Amendment Bill 2018 was assented to on 23 May 2018 and amends the Coal Industry Act 2001 (NSW) (the Act) to include a definition of “employer in the coal industry”.
Employer in the coal industry means any employer whose employees work in or about a coal mine.
Section 31 of the Act requires employers in the coal industry to obtain workers compensation insurance from an approved workers compensation company for their employees in that industry. Currently, the approved company under the Act is Coal Mines Insurance (CMI). The change is intended to restore the original intention of the Act to ensure that all coal industry workers are required to be insured under the CMI Scheme.
What does the change mean?
The change to the Coal Industry Act provides for a holistic and fit-for-purpose workers compensation scheme for workers in coal mines. It will also improve equity of workers by mandating coverage for all workers who engage in mining activities in the coal industry, whether they are employed directly by the mine operator or by a contractor or labour hire firm.
When does an employer need to hold a policy with CMI?
Employers whose employees work in or about a coal mine and are engaged in mining activities in the coal industry are required to have a policy with CMI for those workers.
- You have employees that work in or about a coal mine for all or only part of a year
- You have employees that work some of the time in or about a coal mine and elsewhere for the rest of the time
- You have some employees that only work in or about a coal mine and some employees that never work in or about a coal mine
- You provide services ancillary to coal mining, for example, mining equipment maintenance and repairs, and construction.
Employers with workers who are engaged in mining activities in the coal industry but do not work in or about a coal mine should have a policy with CMI to cover those workers.
- Offsite coal washery and preparation plants
- Mine operator workshops
- Certain contractor workshops
- Mine operator administration offices.
Where not all your work is undertaken in the coal mining industry you will require a policy with another workers compensation insurer to cover wages for workers who work outside the coal industry (for all or part of the time). For most employers in New South Wales that will be under an iCare workers compensation insurance policy.
When doesn’t an employer need to hold a policy with CMI?
Employers whose employees work in or about a coal mine making deliveries do not require a policy with CMI.
- Fuel deliveries
- Equipment deliveries
- General deliveries.
When did the change come into effect?
The change to the Act commenced on 1 July 2018.
Why was the Act changed?
Most employers with workers employed in or about a coal mine are currently covered by CMI. However, as the result of a couple of key Court decisions a number of employers with workers employed in or about a coal mine were not considered to be employers in the coal industry for workers compensation purposes.
This meant that certain employers with workers employed in or about a coal mine were covered by the general workers compensation insurance scheme with respect to those employees rather than CMI.
The change to the Act is intended to restore the original intention of the Act to ensure that all coal industry workers are covered by CMI and can benefit from the wider services of the specialised health and safety scheme managed by Coal Services.
Many of the services provide by Coal Services are statutory functions outlined in the Act, including, along with workers compensation insurance, health surveillance, airborne dust monitoring and mines rescue emergency services and training. Order 34, Order 40, Order 42 and Order 43 (previously Order 41) further define some of these functions.