Mr Hoult welcomed members to the meeting and thanked Mines Rescue Service Limited for hosting the event.
The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting held on 26 November 2014.
Mr Hill agreed to obtain the Hargreaves EQI methodology from Mr Huitson. The CPL EQI process had been circulated as agreed and operators initial safety plans and programme for delivery would be addressed by agenda item 5.
The leadership section of the Sector strategy document had been revised as agreed.
Mining regulations completion would be addressed by agenda item 4.
Mr Hill had conveyed members’ thoughts on the HSE intervention process to HMCIM as agreed. Dr Holmes proposed that industry input into the intervention plans may make the documents more relevant and useful to the group.
The completed Sector Strategy document had been circulated to members on 10 March 2015.
The earlier version of the Sector Strategy document had been circulated to members on 22 December 2014 as agreed.
Mr Denton reported that the Mining Regulations 2014 would come into force on 6 April 2015. Any exemptions etc having end dates after 6 April 2015 would automatically end; the two final exemptions were currently being prepared and would be signed within days.
Guidance supporting the regulations was currently being finalised and would be published together with the regulations; this included separate guidance on the use of electricity in mines.
DSEAR would apply in full to mines from 6 April 2015 and would also result in several mines, previously classed as flame safety lamp mines, being declassified.
In discussion of industry training in preparation for the introduction of the new regulations, Mr Denton said mine management should consider specifics prior to attending a question and answer session which could be convened, if required.
The MAUK assessment of competence would be circulated with the minutes.
Action: Dr Holmes and Mr Hill
A tailored programme of education in the new mining regulations would be facilitated as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) by HSE upon receipt of specific sector requirements. Members were asked to consider and forward their requirements to Mr Hill.
Mr Denton thanked operators for their input and assistance in the preparation of the regulations, consultation process and guidance development.
Mr Hoult drew attention to the changes made to the Sector Strategy document to reflect the diminishing size of the coal industry and to incorporate Trades Union comments on working hours, changes to shift patterns etc.
Noting that the document would be further reviewed following the introduction of the new mining regulations members endorsed the Strategy document. This would be published on the HSE website in due course.
Mr Hoult agreed to finalise the document and send to members of the group and Mr Denton for publication
Action: Mr Hoult
UK Coal – Mr Hoult said that, given the current position within UK Coal, maintaining workforce involvement was paramount in achieving effective communication and in underpinning the safety management standards applied to all aspects of the operation. UK Coal safety days, convened by each mine, were specifically aimed at particular topics eg commissioning, operational design etc and were intended to reinforce safety but also achieved productivity benefits; workforce understanding of the education delivered was verified by testing.
Toolbox talks, work specific training and a programme of management audits and the involvement of safety representatives supported this process.
Saint-Gobain – Dr Holmes said that the workforce was involved in all processes carried out at every mine. Monitoring of numbers of near-miss events to accidents took place to assess behavioural attitudes and a programme of educational activities and training and competence assessment in management was in place. Dr Holmes said that the workforce was actively engaged in these programmes and this was demonstrated by the considerable levels of commitment evident.
Salt Union – Mr Dunn reported that working groups addressing nine major hazards had been formed and involved individuals from each site to facilitate discussion and improvements in working practices and the safety culture. A “hearts and minds” exercise had also been implemented to bring about enhanced, open communication between all levels of the work force and management and was also proving useful. A system of rewards applied to various activities provided safety and production initiatives.
MRSL – Dr Jones described the competence management system to be deployed to capture and manage information relating to the work force training, development, skills and competence; this information would currently be uploaded into the “Skillslocker” system.
Introducing this topic, Mr Watson illustrated definitions of mining and mining extreme conditions, mining first aid and mining advanced and medical and fitness systems. He drew attention to work carried out to determine the standards of competence required by rescue workers, relevant to the conditions in which they would have to operate in differing scenarios. Attention was drawn to the 5 day basic induction programme, supplemented by additional time for mining extreme conditions, first aid etc and the ongoing competence assessment to be applied to the process to identify training requirements required to achieve competence. Mr Watson said this work would be further refined, in conjunction with the industry, for specific industry requirements.
The future of the group, to reflect the changing industry dynamics, would be considered by members, together with agreement of future chairman, at the next meeting. Mr Hill agreed to circulate the Terms of Reference to the group.
Action: Mr Hill
Mr Hoult reported discussions were currently underway with the Coal Authority about the future storage of contractor records.
Mr Denton stated his intention to retire as HM Chief Inspector of Mines at the end of 2015.
Mr Hoult closed the meeting and thanked members for their attendance and contributions.