ACIRRT, University of Sydney – November 2002

This project could never have taken place without the cooperation of the informants who agreed to share their thoughts, experiences and knowledge. In particular I would like to thank the mine workers and managers who gave us their precious time, sometimes at the end or beginning of long and tiring shifts. Special thanks go to the people who took us on our first forays underground and into the open pit. They were patient with our wide-eyed questions and kept us safe. Nothing quite prepares you for the reality of a working coal mine and without that experience the magnitude of health and safety issues in the industry can never be fully appreciated. Brigid Van Wanrooy was the other half of the project team for the fieldwork and contributed wit and intelligence. She is the finest of travelling companions, a good friend to have and a sharp and incisive researcher.

The support of the people you work with should never be underestimated. My colleagues at ACIRRT share their seemingly inexhaustible knowledge with a breathtaking generosity. They are also very kind when deadlines are pressing and report writing is underway. Special tribute needs to be paid to Kathryn Heiler. She provided a guiding hand at critical moments which is the best you can ask. Finally, every research venture needs a backer and this task was undertaken by the Coal Australia Health and Safety Trust who continue to support critical work into the study of coal mining. I would like to specifically acknowledge Ken Cram, Carol Mische and Lyn Ferguson for their patience and assistance.