2017 level 1 mine emergency exercise (coal mines)

The 2017 level 1 mine emergency was conducted at Broadmeadow mine, about 30km north-east of Moranbah in Central Queensland. This page provides a summary of the exercise and its recommendations. For more information, download the full 2017 level 1 mine emergency exercise report (PDF, 4.9MB).

Emergency scenario

The scenario for the exercise was a collision between a water truck and Moxy truck under a conveyor underpass. The vehicles caught fire and the smoke and pollutants contaminated the intakes to the mine, resulting in a mine evacuation.

The driver of the water truck was trapped in the cab and died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle had a broken arm and burns.

The following issues were to be addressed throughout this scenario:

  • Coal mine workers had to escape wearing self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs).
  • One team had to change over to compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA).
  • The tyres on the Moxy prevented firefighting teams getting too close.
  • The fire polluted with carbon monoxide and thick black smoke.
  • There was an injured coal mine worker.

Key recommendations for industry

The key recommendations are shown below. For details of these and other recommendations, see 2017 level 1 mine emergency exercise report (PDF, 4.9MB).

  • Develop skills and competency requirements of mine first responders to deal with fire events, both on the surface and in underground environments, in order to reduce the probability of fire events becoming major events.
  • Ensure that coal mine workers practice putting on SCSRs and changing over to CABA in very low visibility. The training should emphasise that it is better to put on the SCSR in fresh air before it becomes polluted with gas.
  • Develop an emergency response standard to ensure that all mines have the same:
    • coloured escape way droppers
    • lifeline protocols for cones and installation
    • non-verbal communication methods
    • communications between evacuating coal mine workers in their group and when they meet other groups
    • CABA spacing and location of associated phones/digital analog converters (DACs), mine plans, white boards, etc.
  • Ensure all mines audit their underground escape ways and correct any deficiencies.
  • Resolve the issue of police carrying weapons on the surface of the mine. Current Queensland mining legislation is not intended to inhibit police entry to the surface areas of a mine.
  • Decide on the design for a mobile emergency winder and arrange for emergency winding capability to be available.