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16 Aug 2016 – Coal mining industry showcases its first aid focus

Thrown from their motorcycle, two riders lay strewn across the backyard of a home after crashing heavily through a fence during a wild police chase. Met with groans of pain and one man with an amputated limb, responders rapidly jumped to action. The confronting emergency scenario signalled the start of the Coal Services First Aid Competition at Newcastle Mines Rescue station on Friday 12 August 2016. Now in its fourth year, the annual competition attracted an impressive 15 teams from mines throughout New South Wales, including representatives from Glencore, Centennial Coal, Peabody and New Hope.

Each year the event sees two of Coal Services’ business units, Mines Rescue and CS Health, join forces to challenge participants and test their essential first aid skills by having them face realistic emergency scenarios.

In addition to the motorcycle scene, a chemical spill and multi-casualty bus accident were among the high-pressure situations faced by a record number of competitors in 2016. CS Health General Manager Mark O’Neill said that although the competition was run exclusively for mine employees, it also provided immense benefits to the wider community.

‘This important event provides an opportunity for mines rescue brigadesmen and general first aid officers to come together, demonstrate their expertise and hone their skills. The skills that our first aiders develop are vital in supporting not only their workplace, but also their local communities,’ Mr O’Neill said.

‘For example, here in New South Wales if you suffer a cardiac arrest somewhere other than a hospital your chances of survival are about only 10 per cent. The Coal Services First Aid Competition helps to ensure participants are properly equipped to handle any such incidents they may encounter in real life, and potentially save someone’s life.’

General Manager Mines Rescue and Regulation & Compliance Matthew Fellowes said the competition exemplified Coal Services’ passion for protecting the NSW coal industry and its workers.

‘Although prevention of workplace incidents and injuries is our main focus, emergency response training, like our first aid courses, provides the industry with the skills and knowledge to respond appropriately should an incident arise in the workplace,’ Mr Fellowes said.

‘Importantly, this capability transcends to situations they may encounter at home with their families or out in the community. These skills empower the men and women we train to provide safety leadership in emergency situations until assistance arrives, and in many instances this is critical in ensuring a positive outcome.’

For the second year running, the West Wallsend Barbarians claimed the prestigious overall title. Team leader Bob Wilson said he and fellow Barbarians Alex Lidwinski, Mark Cox and Dave Allen were proud to represent Glencore and its West Wallsend mine, as well as past and present employees.

‘We are very proud to have earned yet another win at the renowned Coal Services First Aid Competition,’ Mr Wilson said.

‘With our West Wallsend pit set to close in the coming months, this year’s victory is especially significant for the Barbarians. We’d like to thank Coal Services for hosting the event, as well as the 14 other outstanding teams for taking part and providing such stiff competition.’