Bulga wins Mines Rescue Open Cut competition
The annual Mines Rescue open cut competition was held at the Hunter Valley Mines Rescue station in November. Seven teams from the Hunter region competed to test their skills and capabilities in high pressure situations. NSW Fire and Rescue, the NSW Ambulance and Rural Fire Service (RFS) teams also participated to increase the realism of the scenarios.
All open cut mines rescue teams are required to be proficient in a diverse range of emergency response and first aid skills. With mine sites located outside of major regional areas, the first response will be provided by trained onsite personnel in the event of an incident.
Experience has shown that the first five minutes is critical in obtaining a successful outcome in major incidents. Onsite response is the only way to achieve this.
Industry safety standards have improved considerably over the last decade, resulting in a 74% decrease in workers compensation claims over that time. But vigilance must be maintained. Open cut mines in NSW experienced 143 lost time injuries for all Operations in the last financial year (excluding injuries suffered by open cut mine contractors, consultants, labour hire crews, coal preparation plant employees or administrative roles, as at 7 November 2014). Given the frequency of incidents, it is critical that onsite rescue personnel have a good team dynamic, understanding of roles and responsibilities, good communication and high level skills in problem solving and hazard identification. This ensures they are able to function effectively in all situations, from managing minor incidents to working in a high stress environment.
Bulga emerged as the overall winning team on the day. Team Captain Clayton Moore says “The day wasn't about winning. Sure it's great that we did win but the day was really about learning. Even as the winning team we learnt a lot.”