Mining and quarries: Safety basics

Understand common hazards and risks in mines and quarries, and ways to make work safer.


Mining and quarrying

Mining and quarrying are high risk activities which can affect both employees and people in surrounding areas.

The task of dumping material over or near edges has led to fatalities. Serious incidents have included fall of ground, mobile plant and truck roll-overs, partial engulfment, explosive fly rock, electric shock and fire.

Common hazards and risks in mining and quarries

  • batter stability / ground failure / rock fall
  • mobile plant roll-overs and mobile plant collision
  • fire and/or explosion (including plant fire, misfires and fly rock)
  • respirable dust exposure (including crystalline silica)
  • loss of ventilation and contaminated atmospheres (including blast fumes and confined spaces)
  • inrush
  • sodium cyanide and its reaction products
  • entanglement in machinery like conveyors, crushers and screens
  • noise from machinery like grinders and compressors
  • falls from height (including proximity to dangerous openings)
  • injuries from lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling heavy loads
  • fatigue

Making mining and quarry work safer

Our tools and guides can be used to assess and control the specific risks in mining and quarries.


Involving your employees in health and safety issues can result in a safer workplace. That's why consultation is an important part of risk management. In certain situations employers must consult about health and safety issues with employees and health and safety representatives (HSRs) if they have them. See 'consultation' for detailed information.

Risk management process

  1. Find the hazards in your workplace.
  2. Assess the risks associated with those hazards. You don’t have to do a formal risk assessment if there is already information about the risk and how to control it.
  3. Control the risks.
  4. Monitor and review your risk controls. Revise the controls if they are not working.

Health and safety legal duties

Under Victorian occupational health and safety law, there are specific duties to ensure health and safety in workplaces. For more information about your duties, see Occupational health and safety – your legal duties.


Examples of employer duties:

  • For your employees, you must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable. Employees may include contractors and agency staff.
  • Give your employees the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
  • Ensure that the conduct of your business does not endanger other people (including visitors, the public and other workers).
  • Report notifiable incidents to WorkSafe.


Examples of employee duties:

  • Take reasonable care for your health and safety in the workplace. You must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected by what you do or don't do.
  • Cooperate with your employer about any action they take to comply with the OHS Act or Regulations. For example, use equipment properly, follow safe work policies and procedures and attend training.
  • Don't intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare.

Specific duties about mines

Chapter 5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 has specific requirements for managing health and safety in mines. There are duties for mine operators and employees. These do not apply to quarries.

Related information