The NSW Minerals Council’s 2019 Health, Safety, Environment and Community Conference Awards showcase those in our industry who go above and beyond. This year’s winners are no exception.

Over 500 people from across NSW were in attendance to celebrate excellence and innovation in NSW mining and to hear the winners announced on August 5. The North West region took home the 2 of the 4 trophies on the night, an amazing achievement!

Winner – Health Excellence 

Whitehaven Coal – Narrabri Mine

Narrabri Gumboot trials with Crawford boots

Given the dark, wet and rocky environment in underground mines, it’s no surprise that foot and ankle injuries are some of the most common experienced by miners. 

In response to reports of foot, ankle and leg pain from the 300 strong workforce at Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Underground mine, the mine approached Gunnedah-based podiatrist Penny Crawford to design footwear which could replace the current gumboots that the miners were using. 

Alongside a team of industrial designers, specialised manufacturers and traditional rubber boot craftsmen, Penny developed the WedgeTech Personalised Lock-Fit System. The System works by locking the foot into a stable position into the boot.

After six months, the mine conducted a trial with miners wearing the specially made boots and found that 24 out of 25 participants would recommend the boots over other boots and their ratings for the boot far exceeded the ratings for non-Crawford boots.

Another trial 12 months later found that 75 percent of the original participants were still using the same Crawford boot, where other boots would be worn through every four months.

Whitehaven Coal now plans to introduce these new boots more broadly on site and educate its workplace about proper footwear.

Winner – Community Excellence 

Idemitsu Australia Resources – Boggabri Coal Mine

The consultation of cultural recordings of stories told by Kamilaroi People 

Idemitsu Australia Resources’ Boggabri Coal Mine, which employs 600 people, has worked closely with the traditional owners of the land, the Kamilaroi people, to provide an educational resource that can be used by all Australians to improve their cultural awareness and understanding of the Kamilaroi Nation.

Made in consultation with members of the Kamilaroi Nation, the 20-minute film portrays the Dreamtime stories and the cultural traditions of the Kamilaroi. The team at Boggabri Coal hosted screenings of the film to the public and has given a copy to all local schools to raise awareness of the area’s rich indigenous connection. 

This is a world-class example of a mining company investing in a project to highlight the significance of and cultural connection to ‘country’ by traditional owners. The standard that Boggabri Coal has achieved with its production ‘The Kamilaroi’ evoked genuine emotion and interest from members of the public, teachers and students alike.

Congratulations also go to
 Yancoal Australia Duralie Coal Mine, winners of the Environment Excellence Award with their Nest Box Program
Centennial Coal Myuna Mine Myuna, winners of the Safety Excellence Award with their Monorail Bracket