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Hunter Safety Awards

On Friday 15 March 2024, this year’s Hunter Safety Awards recognised individuals and businesses dedicated to championing safety, innovation and Work Health and Safety (WHS). Among the outstanding winners was Mines Rescue, demonstrating unwavering commitment to WHS by winning the Best WHS Training Program award.

At the heart of their win is Mines Rescue’s Generic Underground Induction course, a comprehensive training initiative designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the NSW underground coal mining sector. This course not only provides essential technical training but also places a strong emphasis on WHS practices, ensuring that workers are well-prepared to navigate the inherent risks of their environment.

The focus on safety awareness and prevention is ingrained in Mines Rescue’s training ethos, reflecting their overarching purpose: to protect. By instilling a culture of safety consciousness and providing practical tools for risk mitigation, Mines Rescue plays a vital role in helping to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of workers in the underground coal mining industry.

Lachlan Grant, Mines Rescue State Operations Manager, explained that while Mines Rescue was founded to provide an emergency response capability for the NSW coal industry, their focus today extends beyond rescue to provide specialist industry training that is not limited to coal mining.

“Mines Rescue was established following the Bellbird mine disaster of 1923 which today remains the worst mining disaster in the Hunter region. Mines Rescue’s primary focus at that time was to establish rescue stations and provide brigade personnel and equipment in the event of an emergency,” he said.

Changes in legislation, increased regulatory oversight and a higher safety focus has reduced the occurrence of mining disasters requiring response. As a result, Mines Rescue has evolved from a responsive to a highly proactive service offering.

“In addition to specialty mining training such as inductions and refresher training, we also offer a range of safety training courses that are applicable to many industries, such as first aid, working at heights, confined space, risk management and more.”

Mines Rescue trainers and assessors are nationally-accredited and have decades of specialisation and technical experience in mining operations, management and emergency preparedness. This means they genuinely understand the challenges of the mining industry and the importance of working safely.

Training occurs in purpose-built facilities with real equipment to simulate real-world scenarios. This includes the capacity to combat actual fires whenever feasible and utilise genuine breathing apparatus. Virtual reality technology is also employed to familiarise students with safety hazards within a secure environment.

“Safety doesn’t simply happen by chance. It is the result of numerous contributing factors and people across our industry working together and we are proud to be part of this.

“This award is a testament to Mines Rescue’s ongoing efforts to prioritise safety in the workplace and uphold the highest standards of WHS across the industry.”

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2024 Hunter Safety Awards
WHS Business of the Year: Swietelsky Rail Australia
Best Health and Wellbeing Program (Large Organisation): Newcastle Airport
Best Health and Wellbeing Program (SME): Swietelsky Rail Australia
Best WHS Improvement (Large Organisation): Metso
Best WHS Improvement (SME): Fenech Demolition
Best WHS Management System (Large Organisation): Westpac Property Group
Best WHS Management System (SME): Machinemonitor
Most Innovative WHS Idea (Large Organisation): Singleton Council
Most Innovative WHS Idea (SME): SafeGauge
WHS Champion of the Year: Paul Olive (PLUS ES)
Young WHS Leader of the Year: Kurt Speers (Red Insight)
Best WHS Training Program: Coal Services Mines Rescue

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