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December 2017 – New mines rescue station launches with first aid competition

Nine teams from mines across the Western region competed at the 2017 Coal Services Western Region First Aid competition on Friday, 1 December. The event took place at the new Moolarben Mines Rescue Station that was officially opened as part of the event.

Located at Yancoal’s Moolarben Coal Mine, the opening of the Mines Rescue Station follows extensive consultation with stakeholders in the region to improve mines rescue emergency response capability to mines in the area.

Brian Kelly, Regional Manager Western Mines Rescue said the day was significant because it acknowledges the role of the mining industry in the Mudgee-Ulan region.

“We have 5 coal mines employing more than 2,000 workers, which is about 10% of the total NSW coal mining workforce and the industry here is growing. Coal Services’ purpose is to protect, and what could be more fitting to deliver on our purpose than to open a mines rescue station here in the heart of the Ulan mining region.”

Mr Kelly explained the first aid competition was an opportunity for teams to test the mines rescue and first aid skills they learn through specialised training. Mines rescue brigadesmen, emergency response and first aid officers participated in a series of complex, simulated scenarios ranging from burns and breaks, to amputation and snakebite. As well as live enactments, participants were also challenged through Coal Services’ market leading virtual reality training capability.

“Our primary role is to activate personnel, equipment and systems to respond to any emergency situation at NSW coal mines. This includes training volunteer underground brigadesmen and surface emergency responders in rescue techniques and other specialised tasks. We are also responsible for ensuring workers are well-prepared for the mining environment through industry safety training as they enter the workforce and ongoing through their mining career. The establishment of the Mines Rescue station here complements these services and will greatly enhance the mines rescue and training capabilities in the area,” he said.

Glencore’s Ulan Underground team won the overall title and also took home the trophy for ‘best team theory’. Captain Gary Reedy said the team were ecstatic with the result as it was the first time they had competed as a team.

“Some of us had competed at mines rescue competitions before and today’s scenarios tested a wide range of skills that really made us think about our approach and what we might need to get better at,” he said.

“It was great to see so many mines represented and it says a lot about the value that our industry place on events like this. We would like to thank Glencore for their support in enabling us to compete, but also to Mines Rescue and those involved for putting on such a well-organised event.”

The following mine sites participated in the 2017 Western Region First Aid Competition:

  • Yancoal | Moolarben Surface, Moolarben Underground
  • Glencore | Ulan Surface Operations, Ulan West, Ulan Underground
  • Peabody Energy | Wilpinjong
  • Centennial Coal | Springvale (2 teams)
  • CMOC | Northparkes

Scenarios comprised:

  • Vehicle collision
  • Industrial accident
  • Allergy
  • Snakebite
  • Burns
  • Amputation
  • Drug-related incident