Teams from across the Hunter Valley and as far reaching as Mudgee competed in the 2017 annual Open Cut Mines Rescue Competition, held in Singleton at the Mines Rescue Station on Friday, September, 15.
Competing mines included Bulga, Mt Owen, Bengalla, Mt Arthur, Hunter Valley Operations, Mt Thorley Warkworth, Ravensworth, Wambo, Ulan and Wilpinjong.
And the winning team was Mt Arthur, from Muswellbrook – making it back to back wins for the BHP owned mine.
Sadly unlike their underground counterparts there is as yet no national rescue competition for open cut mines. No doubt the open cut teams would like to see one established.
The teams were assessed on their ability to demonstrate emergency response skills across a variety of scenarios including vertical rescue, vehicle extrication, and use of Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA), industrial and general first aid, fire fighting and a theory component.
David Connell, Hunter Valley Mines Rescue Regional Manager, said that open cut competitions offer our industry brigadesmen and surface emergency responders invaluable experience in dealing with extremely realistic emergency response scenarios.
“Mines Rescue provides critical training to the open cut mining industry and are instrumental in equipping surface emergency responders with safety leadership skills,” said Mr Connell.
“There is a significant depth of knowledge and range of competencies required by open cut rescue teams to deal with an array of potential emergencies that can occur on an open cut mine site.
“In the event of an emergency our surface emergency responders will be called upon to control hazards, stabilise, extricate and treat causalities until external medical care can be provided.
“Teaching our emergency responders the skills can be critical; especially where distance and remote access to emergency medical response comes into play.”
BHP Billiton’s Mt Arthur team were successful in taking out the event this year. When asked to reflect on the day and the event, Captain Jeremy Burgess said “Mines Rescue manage to reinvent the wheel every year.
“I’ve been part of 11 competitions and never in that time have they repeated a scenario.”
“I think what set us apart from the other teams was our attitude. We have a willingness to learn and accept change, and thinking outside the box is what gets you through situations like this.
“Investing time and effort into training, and helping your fellow team members is what counts the most, and that shows in the results.”