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Contact Insurance Services on (02) 8270 3257 for free advice on how the changes to the Coal Industry Act 2001 affect you

The Coal Industry Amendment Bill 2018 was assented to on 23 May 2018 and amends the Coal Industry Act 2001 (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.

For example:

  • 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.

For example:

  • 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. For example:

  • Fuel deliveries
  • Equipment deliveries
  • General deliveries.

Employers whose employees work in or about a coal mine providing services not directly related to coal mining do not require a policy with CMI. For example:

  • Servicing of office equipment
  • Administration (unless it is the administration arm of a coal mine operator)
  • Non-coal mining related maintenance and repairs
  • Consulting in an office environment.

+ When does the change come into effect?

The change to the Act commenced on 1 July 2018.

However, a transition period is in place to give affected employers time to comply with the change to the Act and to ensure that there will be no undue impact on coal mining operations.

The transition period runs from 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2018.

During the transition period employers required to hold a policy with CMI will only need to ensure that they have a current Certificate of Currency from a workers compensation insurer to cover those workers.

From 1 October 2018, after the expiry of the transition period, employers required to hold a policy with CMI will need to ensure they have a Certificate of Currency from CMI for a policy that covers those workers.

Employers required to hold a policy with CMI can discuss their workers compensation insurance arrangements and how to obtain a policy by contacting the Insurance Services team on (02) 8270 3257 or at policyservices@coalservices.com.au.

Why has the Act been 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 has meant that certain employers with workers employed in or about a coal mine have been 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.

Further information

Frequently Asked Questions

CMI will regularly update the Frequently Asked Questions as new queries are received.

You can also contact the CMI Insurance Services team on (02) 8270 3257 or at policyservices@coalservices.com.au