NSW Mines Rescue help launch first NZ competition
December 18, 2014

The world class NSW Mines Rescue team has again shown why it is a world leader at an event held to improve mine safety and rescue practices in New Zealand.  


Pictured: Dave Connell (NSW Mines Rescue), U/G with Charlie Gawith(L) (Underground Mine Manager, Waihi Gold Mine)and Brian Robertson(M) ( Rescue Consultant, South Wales UK)
Through its four NSW Rescue Stations in the mining regions of Newcastle, Wollongong, Lithgow, Singleton, Mines Rescue has been helping the industry to manage risk and operate safely for over 90 years, and is highly respected by the industry.
Two members of the NSW Mines Rescue team were invited to attend the first New Zealand (NZ) Mines Rescue competition, held at Newmont Waihi Gold, the company managing the Martha, Favona and Trio operations in Waihi, New Zealand.
New Zealand is working to improve its mines rescue capabilities, four years on from a tragic incident at the Pike River coal mine where 29 lives were lost. NSW experts were involved in the rescue and recovery operation at the mine and have now been asked to provide advice and expertise as Kiwi miners work to improve the development and training of rescue teams to ensure the highest standards are reached and maintained.
Tony Forster, WorkSafe NZ Chief Inspector, says these competitions help mine rescue officers exercise the skills they have learnt in a high-stress situation, emulating situations they would encounter in the real world.
“Rescue competitions are internationally recognised as a competence-building training tool generating stress levels similar to those experienced during real emergencies,” he said.
David Connell, Regional Manager at Hunter Valley Mines Rescue and Chris Clifford, Training Officer at Newcastle Mines Rescue, were sponsored by WorkSafe NZ and helped the organisers with planning and running the event.
They also had the opportunity to explore new and different scenarios that they were able to use to educate the NSW team back home.
David Connell praised the high standard and commitment of the teams in the competition.
“The level of commitment the four teams demonstrated was impressive. Each team clearly had been training for the competition and this showed with a high level of skills displayed on the day,” he said.
“The competition day was also very successful, in a large part due to the collaboration
between WorkSafe NZ and local mining operators. This allowed a unique learning experience
for coal and metalliferous mines rescue teams to sharpen their emergency response skills.”
Paul Healey, General Manager Mines Rescue and Regulation & Compliance, emphasised the benefits of joining forces with national teams, generating greater insights into training for a variety of rescue industries.
“It is great to see collaboration on safety initiatives such as creating important training opportunities like this for mine operators, government agencies and emergency services.”
The event was won by a team from Newmont's Waihi gold mine.

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