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Edition 6, December 2014
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Queensland Mines Rescue Service
 

 

Head Office 

49 Garnham Drive 

Dysart Q 4745 

PO BOX 156 

Dysart Q 4745 

Ph: 07 4958 2244 

Fax: 07 4958 2740 



Leading Rescue 24/7...

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the team members as I take over from Wayne Hartley as Chief Executive Officer for QMRS.
 
Whilst a ’blue’ at heart this now only really applies to supporting football as I have been working in Queensland for the past 6 years both in underground with Anglo and open cut for Thiess and Peabody.  This is my second stint in the Bowen Basin having worked in BHP open cuts during the mid-1990’s.  When it comes to rescue competitions I know who I will be barracking for.

My association with mines rescue commenced in 1990 when I completed my recruit course in Newcastle and I spent time as a team member at both Southern and Western Mines Rescue stations in the following years.
 
Hosting the national competition at Grasstree in 2010 was a great experience and I would strongly encourage all mines/companies and managers to seriously consider any such opportunities in the future.  The teamwork and safety focus along with the learnings that come from such events have an enormous positive impact on mine performance and culture.
 
It is an honour to be taking over leadership of the highly competent team that Wayne has developed here at QMRS.  The quality training delivered and the strong relationship between the trainers and teams was clearly reflected in the recent results achieved at the national titles held at Oaky North in October.  Congratulations to the Oaky North team in backing up as National champions for the second successive year and with a clean sweep of positions; Broadmeadow second and Crinum third, the quality of Queensland Mines Rescue teams is beyond question.
 
It has been pleasing to see the changes that have started to gain traction within the rescue service with improvements to the training facilities nearing completion and the developments within the training offerings available to the industry, such as the completion of the first ERT course for open cut recruits.  I look forward to communicating the improved value proposition that the service can provide as we develop our capabilities in response to the current and future needs of the industry over the coming year.
 
I wish everyone associated with mines rescue a Merry Christmas and as we move into to a new year I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible as we meet the challenges and opportunities that lie in front of us.
 
David Carey
Chief Executive Officer

Education Manager/RTO - Paul McCarthy


This is last newsletter article from the Education Department for 2014, and a good time to reflect on the achievements for the year, summarise on-going work and what to look forward to in 2015.
 

Achievements in 2014

The QMRS course curriculum has increased considerably over the past year with the development and introduction of new courses for both underground and open cut mines.

ERT Course

Initial course delivery in late June was very successful with positive feedback from the participants.  The course focuses on firefighting team operations, which are integrated with a CABA training programme.  Course content is contextualised to the open cut coal mine environment, which makes it unique among competency-based firefighter training programs available to industry.  As part of the course development, QMRS purchased new hose equipment and an appliance to ensure that all aspects of firefighting could be trained at our facilities.

First Response Course

In response to industry requests, a First Response Course was written for underground coal mines.  The development of this course is an important milestone because in conjunction with the Recruit Course it completes Level III training in incident response capability, both by the mine and by Mines Rescue.
 
The course is organised into three modules to provide flexibility in training and delivery.  We anticipate that the course will be delivered in the first part of 2015.

 

Inertisation Team Course

The first draft of the learner resources for the Inertisation Team Training Program is being completed and should be available by the end of this year.

The course is underpinned by several QMRS competency units combined with existing packages.

It completes the curriculum development strategy of the QMRS Education Department to deliver a complete range of core Level III Emergency Response and rescue skill sets.

Recruit Course

The Underground Coal Mines Rescue Recruit Course has been the core training program delivered by QMRS in the past and has gone significant improvement in 2014 in response to trainer and student feedback to ensure that it is current and meets learner requirements.

A major improvement has been the integration of the Day Release refresher program with the Recruit Course design to streamline the development of Day Release courses and ensure that they can be mapped back to the initial Recruit Course skills set and assessments.

Application to formally accredit the course at ASQA has been made, which will give this course formal national recognition and allow the issuing of a Statement of Attainment by the QMRS RTO.

QMRS Training Staff Qualification Upgrades


All QMRS Operations Managers and trainers now have full qualification in Training and Assessment at the Certificate IV level, including the LLN competency unit.  This is a significant accomplishment by our staff, because it ensures that our training and assessment skills have been enhanced, as well as ensuring that QMRS complies with the latest RTO Standards requiring that all training staff have this qualification.  Congratulations to all who completed the course.

 

Current Work by the Education Department


The next step in ensuring that training and assessment quality assurance and compliance at QMRS is to form a partnership with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).  We are well prepared for the rigour that would come with an RTO with our fully qualified staff and RTO-level training program development.

There are two options currently being considered regarding the participation of an RTO at QMRS:
  • Registration of a QMRS (enterprise) RTO;
  • Partnership with an external RTO.


What to Look Forward to in 2015


The next step in our curriculum will be the development of higher level courses in emergency response and rescue.  New courses will be developed in response to our underground and open cut industry client feedback and requests.
 
The following courses are under consideration.
  • Level IV: Mines Rescue Team Leaders, (e.g. Captain, Control Panel Operator, Site Coordinator);
  • Level IV: Control Room Operator;
  • Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses in Emergency Response and Rescue and Emergency Management, including alignment with universities to familiarise engineers in mine emergency response and management;
  • Firefighting Officer, (underground coal mines statutory position).
 
It should be a busy and challenging year!
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all QRMS staff.  I hope that you enjoy your time with your families and loved ones over the holidays.

Training - Mark Freeman


Well, 2014 is drawing to a close and we are finishing round 6 of day release training.

Reviewing the year, it has been a full calendar for the training at QMRS completing six Underground Recruit Courses, 1 Surface Recruit Course and 5 MEMS Courses. 2014 has also seen the completion of the RPL process for the existing underground team members to the latest recruit course material. 

Looking forward to 2015 as we move towards issuance of certificates of attainment, there will no doubt be teething issues as we align to the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework. This will however, put QMRS in a pivotal position in the mining industry to deliver emergency management training at all levels.

Many thanks to our training staff for a positive year and your cooperation in aligning the training curriculum throughout the stations.  This has made the education process consistent and effective. Also if you are not aware we are now developing and modifying our training material in house with Kirsty Evans doing the hard yards. Using the InDesign suit of programs we are able to quickly and simply audit and amend training material, as well as develop training material from concept to delivery. This is a bonus and with Kirsty’s background it has been a breath of fresh air.

Have a safe and joyous Christmas period and please take care when traveling. Remember the big killers on our roads of fatigue, alcohol and mobile phones.

GAG - Clive Hanrahan

The GAG team leaders travelled to SIMTARS centre in Ipswich to train on the newly purchased Steamex 300 Jet Unit in late November.  The Queensland government purchased the unit from Liberty Gas Turbines in Amsterdam.

The Steamex 300 is nicknamed the "Mini GAG".  The unit operates on the same principles as out GAG Unit albeit a smaller version.  The Mini GAG produces 3m3/second compared to 25m3/second of product.

The plan is for SIMTARS to test the unit for use in queensland mines and QMRS is to assist wherever possible.
 
The "Mini GAG' unit currently located in Ipswich which was recently purchased by the Queensland Government.
Team Captain George Willett with Michell Kooij of Steamex Fire in Holland.
Our annual GAG Workshop was held in Mackay during November with a number of important topics covered including the new training packages.  We also had an informative visit by Dr John McIntosh in relation to heat awareness and sun/UV exposure with skin checks carried out.

Be mindful summer is traditionally the busy time for GAG, keep your turn out gear organised and close by and have merry Christmas.

Operations Manager - Ray Smith

This year, QMRS Staff attended a service held at Moura for the 20th year memorial of the Moura No. 2 disaster of August 7th.

The Miner's Memorial Day was also held at Moura in remembrance of all lives lost in mining.  This is also the anniversary of Queensland's largest disaster of Mount Mulligan where 75 lives were lost due to poor shotfiring practices.
Miner's Memorial Day at Moura, 19th September 2014
Collinsville Memorial Day, 13th October where seven lives were lost due to outburst

Workshops/Seminars


QMRS Dysart hosted a seminar in conjunction with SIMTARS, DNRM and NOISH on the 16th September.

Presentations were delivered to approximately sixty people from the industry.  Topics discussed were:
  • Inflatable Stoppings and Emergency Sealing;
  • Liquid Air Breathing Apparatus;
  • Long Duration Breathing Apparatus Bio Marine 240R
  • QMRS Training System;
  • Micro Seismic Technology;
  • Utilisation of GAG to seal the mine;
  • Steamex Fire 300, Mini GAG.
A couple of these presentations were then delivered at Newcastle Mines Rescue Station by MQRS, DNRM and NOISH.  Anyone wanting a copy of the presentation, please feel free to contact myself.
 
NOISH will be returning in March 2015 to carry out further testing in Liquid Air with the assistance of SIMTARS, QMRS and Oaky North Mine. 
 

Competitions

October 23rd saw the National Mines Rescue Competition being held in Queensland at Oaky North Mine with the host mine once again taking the title for the second year in a row.  The pressure now sits with the Oaky North team to deliver the goods again in 2015 for a three peat as achieved by Moranbah North Mine in recent years.

This was the first time in history that Queensland teams dominated the top 3 positions with Broadmeadow Mine finishing second and Crinum Mine third.

 
The Assessors Report is due out end of November.
 

Emergency Exercises

As the year draws to an close, so too do Underground Mines by meeting legislation requirements by completing Level 2 exercises.  A number of these have been completed with some still needing to be finalised.

The Level 1 emergency exercise was conducted at Kestrel Mine on the 29th October.

The draft report is out and the final report is due out sometime in December.

 

Scenario


The scenario for the exercise was based upon an underground conveyor overrunning and creating a pile up of coal at the end of the shift.  A faulty conveyor belt idler would be the ignition source for the coal which would quickly escalate into a coal spillage fire.

The pollutant from the fire quickly spread around the mine, creating the requirement for an evacuation by coal mine workers (CMWs) using self-contained self- rescuers (SCSR) and a changeover to compressed air breathing apparatus CABA.

It was decided that any initial fire-fighting response would not be successful so as to require the deployment of the Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) inertisation tool the GAG.

To add complications for the mines incident management team, there was to be a mineworker with an injured leg in a part of the mine which was not affected by the conveyor belt fire.  His location was on a face line which was ventilated by an intake borehole. The mineworker had access to a telephone and attempts would be made to make external communications.

The result for QMRS was a good deployment response by team members and staff.   MRAS was completed by QMRS upon arrival to site and excellent feedback from the assessors on FAB setup and extinguishment of fire.

GAG deployment was timely and successful with the GAG firing within six hours of being activated. Excellent achievement by all QMRS staff and team members.


 

Running of New Zealand's First National Competition


On the November 29th, QMRS staff assisted in running New Zealand’s first National Competition.

Whilst only four teams competed, it is a great starting point for future competitions for the country.


Teams consisted of six members from three mines.  Newmont’s Waihi Gold Mine had two teams while Oceania Gold Mine and Huntly East Mine also competed.

The results were in favour of the host mine Newmont’s Team Black 1st, Huntly East 2nd and Newmont’s Team Red 3rd.

The day consisted of an 8am start and a finish for the last team of 3:30pm with exercises underground, fitness, and a benchman with an oral theory exam.

The event underground was a misfired shot with two personnel unaccounted for.  

The first
 task for teams once they left FAB post debrief was they would come across the first missing patient who was overcome by CO poisoning.  He would then be taken back to FAB and handed over.

The team would then make their way to the area of concern. Upon arrival, two further casualties are found.  One trapped under shot material with an injured lower right leg, the other with a SCSR hanging out of their mouth and disillusioned.


The final event underground was airbag exercise where the team had to lift a concrete slab 300mm off the ground with two cups of water at each end, simulating the removal of an injured person.
To end, all have a safe and joyful Christmas break.

OH & S - Jason Andrews-Reid

Seasons Greetings All

It’s been a very busy time in the OHS department with the external consultant/auditor visiting.  I believe the biggest issue that arose from the audit was the fact that we have, as a team, normalised hazards within our work environment.

The past week has been fantastic as we are now taking ownership and putting in place actions to remedy this situation.  As a team we are now supporting each other in hazard identification and putting in place controls to stop people getting hurt.

In 2015 and onwards, the standards we set must be maintained.

The holiday season is now upon us; please remember to drive carefully and to conditions.  If you are driving long distances, please take regular breaks to manage fatigue.

Whenever we drive QMRS vehicles, our public image is on display.  We want to maintain an image of professionalism and safety.

Take care, stay safe and enjoy your Christmas and new year. 

Equipment - David Watt

After a very challenging year, the equipment team (including Technical Officers, Training Officers, and Operations Managers) have managed to ensure all sites are operational.

With the limited resources available, Cameron has excelled and worked exceptionally hard to maintain all our equipment with an all-around outstanding effort.  I personally would like to take the time to thank him for this.

The new year will see many new challenges that we must work together to achieve.  The biggest of these will be the introduction of Hardcat in regards to maintenance.  The new PDA’s have arrived and will be introduced to service over the Christmas period.  Multiple procedures are in the process of being written and will also require joint input before introduction to our system.

The SIMTAR’s mobile lab has arrived onsite and will require a large amount of service work each week to ensure it remains operational.  The procedures and maintenance schedule for this are in the process of also being written in conjunction with SIMTAR’s.

There will be several recommendations made by the auditors this year on our document control, maintenance scheduling, and location of records for “onsite” auditing that will also require implementation as they are identified.

After a challenging year with limited resources, the Equipment Team hopes to return to full strength in the new year so that we can provide improved and more efficient service to our clients (industry) and our team members.

Team Member Representative - Shaun Dando

Firstly, I wish to thank all team members who participated in the recent team member representative election. I am honoured to represent all team members on the QMRS Board of Directors, and will continue to carry out this role within its legislative requirements and with the best interests of QMRS and its stakeholders at heart.

I welcome all those who have joined us as new recruits, and thank those who have maintained their team member status and involvement throughout the year. I trust that you have been able to build on and improve your skill and confidence levels so that you are better prepared to respond to an emergency situation should it occur.

A summary of 2014 tasks have included:



February - QMRS Strategic planning review and quarterly BOD Meeting Mackay
The annual strategic review involves representatives from the QMRS staff, Board of Directors and members of the technical advisory committee. The purpose is to ensure that our priorities and strategic direction is consistent with our previously agreed strategic plan and is in line with the stated mission, vision and purpose of QMRS.

Enhancing our core business of providing a mines rescue training and response capability to the underground coal industry in Queensland, the improvement of our training facilities and systems, and increasing the services offered to both the opencut and underground coal sector are all items that are part of our existing strategic plan.



Quarterly Board Meeting
The February meeting in particular focuses on a review of the financial performance year to date against budget.  How we are tracking with any capital programs as well as clarification and understanding of areas within the budget figures that require it.
  
 

May 2014 - BOD Meeting, Dysart
Review of current budget expenditure and how it is tracking.  Approval of budget and capital works for the coming financial year.  Assessor at the QMRS Memorial Cup held at Crinum.


July 2014
Assessor at EK Healy Cup held at Broadmeadow Mine.


August 2014 - BOD Meeting, Mackay
Review of previous financial year’s final expenditure against budget and accounts approval for annual report.


September 2014 
Involvement with the selection process for QMRS CEO position.



October 2014 
 Assessor at the Australian Interdistricts Mines Rescue competition held at Oaky North.


November 2014  - QMRS Annual General Meeting, BOD Quarterly Meeting, Dysart
On behalf of all team members, we wish Wayne Hartley well in his retirement and thank him for his significant contribution to QMRS over the past 13 years.

We also welcome David Carey to the CEO role and look forward to working with him and the rest of the QMRS organisation to continue to “be better than before”.

Once again, thank you to all involved within QMRS for your input and assistance throughout the year.

Please have a safe, responsible and happy Christmas and New Year period.  I look forward to catching up in 2015.

External HR Adviser -  Ali Gralow

Well, here we are again, with another year almost behind us.  Time flies when one is having fun!!
 
For those of you who were not present at the staff meeting on Friday 5 December, let me reiterate that I believe that at the end of each year it is time to reflect on lessons learned during that time, particularly in relation to the ABCD of leadership: 
 
Accountability ….
Behaviour ….
Communication .... and
Discipline.

I have no doubt that there have been some valuable lessons learned and that these will stand us in good stead as we move into another challenging year – these are exciting times for QMRS and a great opportunity for us to place ourselves at the "pointy end" of initiatives that will stand us in good stead for the next 12 months and into the future.

Last year we had the opportunity to trial our initial Performance Feedback Program and this documentation has now been reviewed, with a view to linking it to the February Strategic Planning meeting, so that targets and goals can be allocated to individuals, along with milestones and completion dates associated with successful outcomes.  This means that this program will now run from February to February, with the feedback regarding individual performance occurring during the months of December/January, so that any relevant  issues can be discussed at the annual February Strategic Planning meeting and further action delegated to the responsible officers.

In the meantime I would like to thank you all for your  ongoing support, and to wish you and your families all the very best for a Happy, Healthy and Safe Christmas and New Year Break. 

I would also like to wish Paul a speedy recovery and I hope to catch up with you all in the early New Year.

Remember ..... enjoy the festivities, however ......

Take care and stay safe

Final Chapter

The end of a special period for me, a closure to a chapter and now I am given a chance to reflect over the last 12 years, nearly 13.

In February 2002, I was given the opportunity and privilege to be part of a special assemblage of people.  The emergence of our organisation and of what we have today, started so long ago. It was a journey of challenge and sometimes immense joy but we emerged with a stronger and more resilient capacity to walk our path and tackle the road ahead.  The team members have been a great sense of pride and inspiration to me, we saw them challenged in the competitions and they triumphed over the tasks we set them.
 
The teams aspired to new heights and there was no fear about improving on where we had come from and where we wanted to be. Queensland winning the National 11 times, (in 12 years) and first, second, third and fifth place in the last National Competition with QMRS’s four teams being placed twice in the top 5 in the country.  It is a testimony to the diligence of the trainers, the teams and the support of the mine’s which has led to preparation for a QMRS team Moranbah North to go on and win the International Challenge in Reno, Nevada in the United States in 2008.
 
Other QMRS teams after winning the National have gone on participating in the International challenge several times over the last few years.  We were challenged with emergencies with the United States calling us in 2003 to Loveridge Mine in West Virginia. Again we were asked for assistance in 2003 to Pinnacle Mine in the US.  QMRS advised on mine fires in Norway and South Africa.  We were deployed to Southland at Christmas in 2005 and the GAG Crew (Jet Crew) I should use the right term, rose to the task of assisting in managing the mine on fire at Southland, NSW.  The tragedy at Pike River in New Zealand reminds us of the importance of our role and the level of professionalism we have achieved.  This will stay with me forever as I reflect on the teams and individuals who gave so much over those 79 days, a simple thanks is not enough but THANKS anyway.
 
QMRS has an international reputation well-earned, a national reputation also well-earned, again reflected in our reputation was the esteem in which QMRS was held because we were often contacted by other agencies for advice and this was reflected by being asked to “peer review” the Hazelwood Coal mine fire in Victoria last year with great success.
 
The changes we have made to the GAG Unit, the stations and the equipment and the training system and the reputation of mines rescue and being included and recognised as being a major part of this tremendous industry is testimony to the calibre of the rescue members and the staff of QMRS and I thank you.
 
To those who followed, when they didn’t want to, but stayed with it and made a difference, reflects on a team capacity to create a preferred future and in what aspirations of QMRS and what it is today.  There is still room for improvement and the business and environment of mines rescue is changing and we can change with it and position it for the future.


I thank you.
Wayne W Hartley
(former CEO of QMRS)
QMRS Head Office and Rescue Stations will close for the Christmas Break from Friday, 19th December 2014 through to Monday 5th January, 2015.  Please be assured we have staff available should you need assistance in any capacity over this period.  Remember the ALERTS phone number 1800 767 720 is open 24 hours a day for emergency purposes and will be manned by QMRS personnel.

Round 1 Day Release training kicks off Monday 12th January for Dysart Station and Wednesday 14th January for Blackwater Station.

On behalf of the entire QMRS team, we wish you and your families a safe and merry Christmas and New Year break.
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