2018 level 1 mine emergency exercise (coal mines)

The 2018 level 1 mine emergency was conducted at Grosvenor underground coal mine, about 5km north of Moranbah in Central Queensland. This page provides a summary of the exercise and its recommendations. For more information, download the full 2018 level 1 emergency exercise report (PDF, 3MB).

Emergency scenario

The scenario for the exercise was based on the 2010 Upper Big Branch (UBB) explosion in the US that resulted in the death of 29 coal mine workers.

The scenario required the following issues to be addressed:

  • coal mine workers to escape wearing self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs)
  • one team to undertake a changeover to compressed air breathing apparatus (CABA)
  • injured coal mine workers on the longwall
  • formation of an incident management team (IMT)
  • effective use of callout and communication systems (Queensland Mines Rescue Service, Mines Inspectorate, industry safety and health representative and Simtars)
  • attendance and deployment of Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS).

Key recommendations for industry

The key recommendations are shown below. For details of these and other recommendations, read the 2018 level 1 mine emergency exercise report (PDF, 3MB).

All mine sites and other agencies involved in the mine emergency incident response should review the recommendations and use them in their gap analysis and periodic review of their emergency response systems, as well as audit tool prompts and checklists.

The following recommendations arose from the exercise for the emergency response:

  • Mine to continue with the level/duration of training in SCSR donning and changeover to CABA. The assessors clearly identified that the coal mine workers involved in the exercise were proficient in this process.
  • Develop an emergency management standard to ensure that all mines have the same
    • coloured escape way droppers
    • lifeline protocols for cones and installation
    • non-verbal communications
    • communications between evacuating coal mine workers in their group and when they meet other groups
    • CABA spacing
    • CABA location ancillaries: phones/DACs, mine plans, white boards etc.
    • hat colours depicting coal mine workers' experience/role.
  • Mine to review its mine emergency response system to streamline the process as a result of the areas for improvement identified in this report, in particular the number of duty cards.
  • Adopt an industry-wide data management system for operational management and emergency response and standardised access for external agencies such as QMRS, Mines Inspectorate, industry safety and health representatives and Simtars as applicable.