Professor David Cliff

Professorial Research Fellow

Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre
Sustainable Minerals Institute
+61 7 334 64086


David Cliff was Professor of Occupational Health and Safety in Mining and Director of MISHC from 2011 to 2016. In January 2017 he was appointed Professor of Risk and Knowledge Transfer, reverting to Professor of Occupational Health and Safety in Mining in 2018. His primary role is providing education, applied research and consulting in health and safety in the mining and minerals processing industry. He has been at MISHC over fifteen years.

Previously David was the Safety and Health Adviser to the Queensland Mining Council, and prior to that Manager of Mining Research at the Safety In Mines Testing and Research Station. In these capacities he has provided expert assistance in the areas of health and safety to the mining industry for over twenty three years. He has particular expertise in emergency preparedness, gas analysis, spontaneous combustion, fires and explosions, including providing expert testimony to the Moura No.2 Warden’s inquiry, the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry and the Pike River Royal Commission. In recent times he has also devoted a lot of energy to fitness for duty issues particularly fatigue management. He has been a member of the organising committee for the level one emergency exercises in Queensland underground coal mines since their inception in 1998. He has also attended or provided assistance in over 30 incidents at mines. He has developed expertise in the development of Trigger Action Response Plans.

David has also extensive experience in providing training and education in OHS in mining to in many countries.

He has published widely in the area of occupational health and safety in mining including not just the physical hazards but also on the processes for the effective management of these issues. Examples of this include reviews of the annual safety performance report for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and assistance to the Mine Safety Advisory Council of NSW in developing Health Management Plans (HMP) and key performance indicators for HMP.

In recent years he has collaborated closely with Nikky LaBranche researching respirable dust particularly coal dust and silica.

Research Interests

  • Occupational Health and Safety in Mining
  • Principal Hazard Management in Mining
  • Gas Analysis and interpretation in mining
  • Artisanal Mining OHS
  • Emergency Management

Research Impacts

David has been active in providing education, training and advice on OHS issues to many countries including: India, Mongolia, Peru, Chile, Colombia, South Africa, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, China, the United States of America and Indonesia. In many of these countries he has provided support to government agencies as they struggle to cope with the demands of rapidly expanding minerals extraction industries. A key area of focus has been on the small scale and artisanal mining sector in these countries. He has established relationships with universities and government agencies in many of these countries.


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Book Chapter

  • Bofinger, Carmel and Cliff, David (2019). Occupational health and safety in the mining sector. Increasing occupational health and safety in workplaces: individual, work and organizational factors. (pp. 201-218) edited by Ronald J. Burke and Astrid M. Richardsen. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing. doi: 10.4337/9781788118095.00019

  • Logrosa, Gernelyn, Hassall, Maureen, Cliff, David and Bofinger, Carmel (2018). Is it possible to integrate health and safety risk management into mechanised gold processing? a methodology for artisanal and small-scale mining communities in the Philippines. Between the plough and the pick: Informal, artisanal and small-scale mining in the contemporary world. (pp. 193-208) edited by Lahiri-Dutt, Kuntala. Acton ACT, Australia: ANU Press. doi: 10.22459/BPP.03.2018

  • Cliff, D., Ham, B. and Ross, J. (2012). Occupational health and safety. Mine manager's handbook. (pp. 49-84) Carlton, VIC., Australia: AusIMM.

  • Williams, S., Cliff, D., Jones, H., Dunlop, J., Hal,l A. and Lehany, T. (2012). Overview of mine management. Mine managers' handbook. (pp. 1-48) Carlton, VIC., Australia: AusIMM.

  • Cliff, David I., Beamish, Bevan B., Cuddihy, P. and Rowlands, D. (2009). Explosion, Fires and Spontaneous Combustion. Australasian Coal Mining Practice. (pp. 800-814) edited by R. J. Kininmonth and E. Y. Baafi. Carlton, Victoria, Australia: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM).

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

  • D. I. Cliff and M. Roche eds. (2001). Fly-in Fly-out operation - Issues and management. Fly-in Fly out operation - Issues and management, Townsville and Brisbane, Australia, Feb 2001. Brisbane: Queensland Mining Council.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision