David has worked in OHS in Mining for the past thirty two years. During that time he has been involved in a number of major incident investigations and assisted governments in New Zealand, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. He has been active in providing assistance to developing countries improve their governance of mining OHS. In 2016 he was a member of the Australia India Education Council Eminent Researcher Lecture Program

David has worked closely with the mining industry both in Australia and overseas, particularly coal mining companies. In addition he has worked with governments in China, Mongolia, Peru, Colombia, Indonesia, South Africa, India and New Zealand. He has undertaken work for the World Bank and the National Academy of Sciences in the USA.

Industry Engagement

David specialises in occupational health and safety in mining research and education particularly focussing on the management of risk.

David's research covers a range of topics including principal hazard management, health and safety systems and occupational health management. He has analysed the statistics relating to health and safety as well as leading and positive performance indicators. He has an international reputation in managing fires and explosions in underground coal mines and in providing advice on how to improve OHS performance.

Recent research has broadened to include trying to understand the mechanisms for improving OHS in developing countries, looking at the drivers for the various interest groups.


David has undertaken research with SIMTARS, QUT, Griffith University, the University of New South Wales, NSW Mines Rescue Service, Queensland Mines Rescue Service and the University of the Andes

Key Publications

Cliff D, Harris J, Bofinger C and Lynas D (2017). The application of risk management methods to the control of respirable dust in underground mines, MINESAFE INTERNATIONAL 2017, 1-2 May, Perth Western Australia, pp 10-19.

Bofinger C, and Cliff D (2019) Chapter 10 Occupational health and safety in the mining sector, in Increasing Occupational Health and Safety in Workplaces, Burke R J, and Richardsen A M editors, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK.

Cliff D, Brady D, and Watkinson M, 2015. SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION IN AUSTRALIAN COAL MINES, Australian Coal Association Research Program research project final report C18013. ACARP, Brisbane, Australia.

Cliff D (2009). Air Contaminants, Noise and Vibration- Leading Practice in Sustainable Development Handbook Series. Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Canberra. Principal Author.

National Research Council. (2013). Improving Self-Escape from Underground Coal Mines. Committee on Mine Safety: Essential Components of Self-Escape, Board on Human-Systems Integration, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Committee members: William S. Marras, David Beerbower, Sian L. Beilock, David Cliff, James Dean, David M. DeJoy, Albert W. Holland, Dennis B. O’Dell, David H. Wegman, Toby Warden, Julie Anne Schuck, Renée L. Wilson Gaines


The bulk of David's research funding has come from ACARP and Coal Services. He has also undertaken a number of commissioned research projects for the Queensland and New South Wales Governments.