As part of a State-wide reform into how safety is regulated in the resources sector, the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum is currently in the midst of one of its largest recruitment campaigns in recent history.

The goal is to ensure the department has the resources to regulate the rapidly expanding resources industry well into the future.

In its latest campaign to recruit petroleum safety assessors, the department experienced a very positive response – receiving 226 applications for nine Perth-based positions.

The safety assessors, who signed their contracts last week, will be responsible for regulating occupational safety and health laws under WA petroleum legislation for onshore areas.

The assessors will support Petroleum Safety’s new team based approach, for which three new team leaders were hired in December last year.

Another recruitment drive for petroleum safety and risk analyst positions is set to commence later this year.

Director General Richard Sellers said these recruitment drives were vital to maintaining high safety standards in the industry, which is experiencing rapid growth at present.

“The department is committed to supporting the industry as it grows and this is just one way in which we are doing this,” he said.

“It’s all part of our approach to implement best practice regulation and permanently change the safety culture of industry members.

“It shows we are working hard to remain a robust regulator, but we need to remember that safety is the responsibility of the operator – all companies must provide safe workplaces in good repair.”

The ongoing petroleum safety recruitment drive follows activity by the department’s Resources Safety Division, which recruited an additional 25 mines safety inspectors during 2010-2011.

It also follows the introduction of the department’s mine safety levy and the recent petroleum safety levy, which enables industry cost recovery for ongoing and future mines and petroleum safety programs.