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Edition 8, June 2015
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Queensland Mines Rescue Service
 

 

Head Office 

PO Box 156 

49 Garnham Drive 

Dysart Q 4745 

Ph: 07 4958 2244 

Fax: 07 4958 2740 



Leading Rescue 24/7...

Second quarter of 2015 has seen the preparation, presentation and acceptance by the Board of the 2015/16 Operational and Capital budgets for QMRS.   In line with current industry trends, QMRS has looked for any areas of savings that can be achieved and as a result operational costs have been reduced by a further 5% from the current year budget despite planning to introduce open cut training activity over the coming 12 months as well as increasing the underground training offerings.

 Over the last 3 years, a program of upgrading facilities at both Dysart and Blackwater stations has allowed for capital expenditure to be reduced for the coming 12 months.  Overall these steps have resulted in the QMRS budget in dollar terms being reduced by 19% from its peak in 2012/13.  Like all parts of the industry, QMRS must be responsive to the challenges facing the coal industry and offer a value for money service to enhance our value proposition.
 
The 2015 QMRS Memorial Cup Mines Rescue Competition was conducted successfully in April with congratulations to Cook Colliery on its success in taking out this event.  Our thanks are extended to the staff of Grasstree Mine for the great job they did in hosting the event.  We look forward to welcoming all competitors and guests to Oaky No1 in August for the EK Healy Cup which is our state championship event and for which preparations are now well advanced.
 
It has been a pleasure to welcome Steve Dawe to QMRS as one of our Operations Managers and we look forward to his new ideas and experience helping to challenge us as we look to improve our service wherever possible.   I would like to wish our Training Officer, Jason O’Connor, all the best for his new career back in the industry.
 
As 2015 evolves, I hope this newsletter finds you personally well and focused on safe coal mining, in whatever contribution you make to this great industry.
 
David Carey
Chief Executive Officer

Team Member Representative - Shaun Dando

On behalf of QMRS team members, welcome to all who have joined QMRS either as new recruits or staff members in recent months.  I wish Jason O’Connor all the best with his move back to a site based Emergency Response role at Grasstree.  Jason’s knowledge, passion and training skills will be of enormous value to his new workmates and organisation.

Congratulations to all team members, assessors, or personnel who organised or participated in the QMRS Memorial Competition in April.  Unfortunately due to work commitments I was unable to assess at this year’s competition, but I did manage to make it to the presentations. It was pleasing for Ben Miller and the Cook Colliery team to be rewarded for their efforts over the past few years and have a successful competition result.  It was also great to see a number of new team members included in the competition teams. I hope that you all finished the competition with improved knowledge and skill levels so that you can confidently apply these in any emergency situation should it occur. Remember on any given day, a team who work well together, follow our guidelines, and do the basics right is capable of success!

Our second Board of Directors meeting for 2015 was held in early May. This meeting involved reviewing the financial performance of QMRS, including progress of budgeted operational and capital expenditure year to date. We also reviewed and approved the budget for the next financial year. Effective and efficient use of our funding and resources continues to be a focus for the Board and the business.

Personally I have attended both GAG and Underground training days during this period. It is always good to train with team members and mates from around the industry and have a catch up. I enjoy meeting newer team members or those I haven’t had a chance to meet previously. As Mines Rescue team members we share a common bond and purpose. We all offer differing knowledge, skills and experiences we can share and pass onto our rescue team mates. I encourage everyone to remember why you are a member of the Queensland Mines Rescue Service and what small sacrifices you have to make to ensure you are ‘there when needed’.

OH & S - Steven Dawe

Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself and take the opportunity to explore where we are heading as an organisation for Health & Safety.

I come to QMRS via Glencore, where I spent my days in the role of Emergency Response/Compliance Coordinator.  My time in Mining has developed a whole new range of skills and given me exposure to many experienced and respected members of the mining community.  I spent a lot of time working with Ron McKenna and he has been instrumental in developing my passion for Mines Rescue.

During my New Recruits Course in 2010, the tragedy of Pike River occurred and as the situation unfolded there was much to learn and understand about QMRS and reflect on the role that each and every one of us could play in responding to and more importantly preventing such an experience.  After my New Recruit Course finished, I joined the competition teams at Oaky Creek and have seen first-hand the confidence and higher skill level that the extra training and competition gives the Comp team members.  I will be taking a lead role with the New Recruits and it will be a great honour to see these team members learn new skills that they will be able to take back to their respective mines and, when needed, be confident enough to stand up when it counts and make that bit of difference in the moment.  These are the times that those Mines Rescue trained people make a difference and it is extremely hard, if not impossible to measure or account for the number of times that the quick thinking, action and response has led to a better outcome not only for the people directly involved but for the benefit of the mine operator.

I’ve always had my heart set on coming to work for QMRS and am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.  The workplace health and safety needs of the organisation are in an exciting position where we have the opportunity to re-vamp and re-establish our Safety and Health Management System.  The staff here will notice the changes most some of which will challenge the way we operate day to day and others that will be a little more subtle in nature but overall will give us the structure and systems we require to take this business in the right direction.

Our most important asset is our staff and I would like to challenge all of us who sometimes let the small things consume our thoughts and negatively impact our workplace relationships to recognise these
times and make a change for the better.  I would like to encourage you to rise above these thoughts and embrace the philosophy of getting “Better not bitter"!  I also recognise that not all things can be resolved by maintaining a positive approach and that sometimes professional assistance is required. 
 
We have engaged Gryphon Psychology to facilitate our Employee Assistance Program, (EAP),  For those tech savvy people who'd like to know more straight away, you can download the Gryphon Psychology application from your friendly app store and explore the services on offer.  Alternatively, if you would like any further information, my door is always open and I welcome every staff or team member to come in and say hello to the new guy.

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Training - Mark Freeman

Underground Training
Day Release Training

The present round of training is starting at the Dysart Station for the Northern Zone training group with CAREvent being the topic covered last round in the Southern Zone. Training for the Southern Zone is being conducted at Cook Colliery.  Many thanks to Ben Millar and Mine Manager Warwick Lidbury for allowing us to use the operation at short notice.

Recruit Course Training
The fifth course this year is presently being conducted at Dysart.  We are in the process of changing to the CAREvent and this group is the first to be trained in the new apparatus with many thanks to Ray and Steve.  Thank you also to everyone regarding the amount of training and commitment that is required for the recruit course and also for the continual improvement we are achieving in the course material, please keep it coming.

External Training
If you are not aware, we have been contracted to conduct Fire and Airbag training for all employees at the Grasstree Mine commencing at the end of July.  This is a great opportunity to affect change in the industry by raising the standard of first response in an underground environment.  There are hopes that this will lead to further opportunities to upskill underground operations in proactive response to emergencies underground.

Surface Training
External Training

We have had the opportunity to conduct day release training for Oaky Creek Surface Operations over the last month.  This has been a limited trial looking at specific skills that the site wished to target.  Many thanks to Garrett for his assistance on the second day of training, we have received good feedback from the client in regard to the sessions and trainers.

Opencut Training
External training providers have been contacted to start the facilitation of surface rescue skills for our trainers and staff moving towards the commencement of open cut training.  This will be facilitated in blocks over the next few months.

First Aid Training
St Johns Ambulance trainers have assisted on the last three recruit courses that QMRS have conducted, issuing Statements of Attainment for First Aid and Pain Relief as well as Advanced Resuscitation and Airway Management.  St John is also approving our staff as trainers to conduct training on their behalf as ongoing training for our underground and surface members.

External HR Adviser -  Ali Gralow

Well, the last few months have been taken up with the finalisation of the documents for the Safety & Health Management Plan, and believe me there were quite a few.  These have now been placed into the safe custody of our new Operations Manager – OHS, Steve Dawe, and I have now reverted to formatting some documents for Operations, and will then recommence work on the HR Operations Manual.
 
All in all, things have been fairly quiet on the HR front, however we will be advertising and recruiting for a position in the Training arena in the not too distant future, with a view to bringing our establishment back into line.
 
In support of our change agenda, I would like to say that just because we have not had certain policies and procedures, SOPs, SWPs, Work Instructions or Safety Process Notices in the past, does not mean to say that we don’t need them now.  These documents are there for the protection of all employees, as well as QMRS as a whole, and while some have been revamped, some are new documents, and they are all a necessary part of our operations.
 
As you are aware, the DMS is now being populated with many of these documents, and I would urge you to read each and every one that becomes available, to ensure that you fully understand QMRS expectations, and that where you have queries regarding the content, you contact the document ‘owner’ and seek answers to your queries.  Communication is a critical element of our success and if you don’t ask the question, then you won’t know the answer and your ‘perceptions’ may lead you in the wrong direction – as always, don’t forget the words of Susan Scott “The conversation is not ‘about’ the relationship, it ‘is’ the relationship” – so keep communicating and be aware of what is happening around you.

Take care and stay safe.

GAG - Clive Hanrahan

During the current quarter, QMRS purchased a generator to power our GAG booster fan and testing will commence during August and September.

The GAG team is still on track to take the mini-GAG from SIMTARS to the Townsville Safety Conference and run it on site while there.  Training will be conducted in July at Dysart which will include SIMTARS personnel prior to the Townsville trip.

During May and June, a wide range of testing was conducted on GAG 1 and 2 Water Management Systems with good results and is now ready to fit the Class 1 Monitoring System.
 
The General Electric engine is reaching the final stages of construction with the control panel arriving this week and being tested.

Attendance at training has been lower than normal over the last few months so I'd like to ask everyone to make an extra effort to attend the make-up days.

Education Manager - Paul McCarthy


QMRS has entered into an agreement with Simtars to provide Registered Training Organisation (RTO) services for our education and training departments.  The RTO will provide QMRS with an independent agency to ensure that the QMRS training methods and training program content meet the VET Quality Framework standards, as required by legislation administered through the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).  The RTO can issue Statements of Attainment and Certificates to our underground and open cut rescue team members that complete QMRS courses underpinned by nationally recognised competency units. 
 
Simtars RTO has an excellent record, having achieved delegation regulatory status, which is only conferred by ASQA to selected RTOs nationwide that have achieved high performance over a minimum five years.   
 
Scheduled meetings and audits by the RTO will provide the quality assurance service necessary to QMRS to ensure that our education and training comply with the ASQA VET Quality Framework standards and compliance with Commonwealth training legislation.  It is the responsibility of QMRS to provide continuous training quality control measures to our training system based on the recommendations of the RTO.   This will ensure maximum student course outcomes.


The initiative to engage an external RTO with top level credentials is a very positive action that will enhance our training capacity, increase the knowledge and skills of our training staff and ensure that our courses are delivered professionally at a high level to maximise training outcomes for our students.  The QMRS training system is in good hands and we look forward to a bright future.

Operations Manager - Ray Smith

Team Member Recruit Courses have taken up the majority of the first half of 2015 here at the Dysart Rescue Station.  As at the end of May, we have introduced twenty-three new team members into the QMRS family and with most of these new team members being of MAG 1 and 2, these zones are looking pretty healthy with most mines running at least five persons above the required 5%.  With this in mind, the August course has been cancelled and the June and November courses will be the only remaining courses to be conducted at Dysart for 2015.
Recruits assisting "patient" during course activities.
Recruits with Trainer Jason O'Connor after experiencing the foam generator.
The first training trials of the inflatable stopping have been carried out with great success. Round 4 training here in Dysart for MAG 1 & 2 will be run through the simplicity of the new tool.  At the EK Healy in August, the training unit and the U/G unit will be utilised.
April 23rd saw yet another QMRS Memorial Cup successfully conducted at Grasstree Mine with Cook Colliery taking out first place, Moranbah North taking second place also with first place in the George Carbine Shield and North Goonyella taking out third place.
The CareVent is coming into the final stages, with the new units being ordered and arrival is expected toward the end of July.  All Team Members will finally be taken through the new unit and the training manual has been updated and will roll out when the units arrive.

Equipment - David Watt

This quarter has seen several advances for the equipment team.  Hardcat has commenced being utilised at all substations by the Technical Officers with all substations also receiving a "Substation Condition" board in place of the paper system.  The results from utilising Hardcat are encouraging and as a team we will continue to expand on how we use this maintenance system.  The support provided to the QMRS Memorial Cup went well and ensured the competition ran smoothly.  Thank you Cameron Matthews for taking the lead on this.

This quarter also saw all Technical Officers and a majority of our training staff retrained as Drager BG4 Operator/Maintainers.  This competency ensures we are up to date with all the latest maintenance techniques Drager can provide.  In the next few weeks, the equipment team will be getting trained in the use of the Posi-check system with the aim of utilising this system for all our annual services in the next 6 months and coming years.

Several procedures have been developed by the equipment team, and we will advise when these are part of the DMS.  In particular, Cameron Smith and Cameron Matthews worked together to create a new Bodyguard Comparison test procedure.

Over the coming few months, the equipment team will continue to create procedures as needed to improve efficiency and reduce risk.  We will also strive to increase our usage of Hardcat as a maintenance management platform, again with a view to improve efficiency and reduce risk.  We appreciate your support in achieving these goals.

Business Manager - Ramsay Wells

A high-level delegation of Turkish mining officials visited QMRS in June as part of a co-ordinated Austrade/Simtars visit.
 
The delegation included representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, General Directorate of Mining Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKI) & POLYAK-EYNEZ MINE.
 
“Queensland has one of the safest mining industries in the world and is recognised internationally as a leader in cutting edge mine safety training and technology,” Dr Lynham Qld Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines said.
 
Just over a year ago, Turkey experienced its worst mining disaster when 311 miners were lost in an underground coal mine explosion at Soma in May 2014.
 
Senior Queensland Government mine safety officials visited Turkey in the wake of the Soma disaster at the request of the Turkish mines minister to provide the government with expert advice on mine safety.
 
The Turkish delegation spent time inspecting both the Queensland Mines Rescue Service training facilities in Dysart (Rescue Station and GAG). The delegation talked to QMRS staff in relation to mines rescue equipment and also to procedural systems for mine safety, training, rescue and recovery.
 
The delegation was very impressed with the QMRS facilities and technologies and expressed their great appreciation for the time and effort given to their visit.
 
The Turkish delegation also visited the Queensland Government’s Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Simtars) at Redbank, the University of Queensland and CSIRO as well as co-ordinated visits to coal mines in central Queensland.
 
The 17-person delegation is being coordinated by Austrade and led by the Republic of Turkey’s Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Dr Nevzat Kavakli.
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