Ten teams from across the NSW coal industry competed at the annual Coal Services First Aid Competition that was held at the Newcastle Mines Rescue station on Friday, 24 May 2019. Teams were judged on the level of proficiency with which they administer first aid, as well as how they manage environmental and equipment hazards.
‘This competition focuses specifically on first aid skills. Many teams include first aid officers, not just those with specific mines rescue training,’ explained Mark O’Neill, General Manager CS Health. ‘The scenarios in this competition are designed to reflect everyday situations such as gardening, slip hazards in the workplace or even a family barbeque where first aid skills may be required.’
Among the more common ailments requiring first aid were spider bites, allergic reactions, sprains, fractures and burns. Teams also encountered amputations and spinal injury. The competition has a strong practical focus, but there is also a focus on general first aid knowledge and CPR.
‘We include a CPR component each year, including use of a defibrillator, because it is an essential skill to have in any first aid emergency. CPR is about ensuring blood flow to the brain is not compromised. This year we used a new mannequin that responds to the depth, rate and hand position during compressions and the importance of release between each compression. If done correctly, lights indicate the virtual blood flow from the heart to the brain that should occur during CPR. This part of the competition is just as much a learning exercise as a practical test as teams can see the effectiveness of their CPR performance and adjust accordingly.’
Centennial Coal’s Mandalong team were named overall winners for the third consecutive year, taking top honours for six of the ten scenarios. Captain Clint Bryant thanked his team for their unwavering efforts in the lead up to the event and on the day.
‘These competitions are a great way to put our training and skills to work outside of the mining environment that our mines rescue skills prepare us for. Coal Services challenges us every year and we are proud to be here among such a competitive and highly skilled group,’ he said.
‘I also need to thank Centennial Coal and in particular Steve Screen for their support in allowing us the opportunity to train and compete each year. We were also fortunate to have Alex Lidwinski, a seasoned brigadesman and multiple competition winner, and our former (retired) captain Iain Pattie, lend us advice and coaching again this year and we thank them for their time.’
The following mine sites participated in the 2019 Northern Region First Aid Competition: