Mines Rescue competition with a twist

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While it may currently be on ‘care and maintenance’ Mannering Colliery was a hive of activity with the recent Mines Rescue Competition held at the site.

Bringing together over 60 mines rescue personnel from 10 different New South Wales (NSW) based mining operations, the Mines Rescue competition is organised by Coal Services. 

The competition is designed to test the response of mines rescue personnel to emergency situations and their rescue skills, by undertaking several underground simulation tasks and theoretical exercises. 

Unlike most Mine Rescue Competitions where mine teams compete against one another, this competition called for teams to be made up from a mix of personnel from different mines, both Centennial mines and non-Centennial mines, such as Donaldson Coal and Mangoola Mine.

“The Newcastle competition throws people into teams where they don’t know each other well, or who haven’t worked together before. It’s a strategy that mirrors what would likely happen in a real emergency situation. It not only tests your core skills, but also your ability to act and communicate effectively as part of an assembled team,” said Peter Cornford, Regional Manager Newcastle Mines Rescue.

Teams were assessed on their ability to apply first aid and operate mines rescue and gas monitoring equipment; use of Self-contained Oxygen Regenerative Breathing Apparatus (SCROBA) and attending to an underground diesel fire incident.

Teams were also required to undertake a written theory test about systems and equipment as well as complete a teamwork and communications challenge.

 “These competitions provide an opportunity for mines rescue people to test themselves and the systems and controls we have in place to respond to possible real-life challenges,” Mr Cornford said.

Centennial Coal was well represented with mines rescue personnel attending from Centennial’s Mandalong, Newstan and Myuna Mines.

 “It’s important for our industry to support Mines Rescue in hosting these events. They play a significant role in our industry, with these simulated events forging camaraderie across the State’s numerous mining operations, while placing a strong emphasis on the value of teamwork, safety and communication,” said Centennial’s Mannering Mine Manager, Terry O’Brien.

Competitions are run across NSW to a standard format where teams are assessed against Mines Rescue competencies.

Competitions will also take place in regional mining areas in NSW including Singleton, Lithgow and Wollongong.