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2019 level 1 mine emergency exercise

The 2019 level 1 mine emergency was conducted at Cook Colliery, an underground bord-and-pillar mine 29km south of Blackwater in Central Queensland.

For more information, download the full 2019 level 1 emergency exercise report (PDF, 3.3MB).

Emergency scenario

The scenario for the exercise was based on a substantial earthquake causing major disruption to power and infrastructure.

The scenario addressed the following issues:

  • the ability of coal mine workers to self-escape
  • the mine site incident response
  • the capacity for triage on a large number of coal mine workers
  • donning self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs)
  • the interaction with the industry safety and health representative, Queensland Mines Inspectorate and the Police Service
  • the mobilisation of Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS) and the establishment of a fresh air base
  • social and mainstream media interaction.

Key recommendations for industry

The key recommendations are shown below. You can get details of these and other recommendations in the 2019 level 1 emergency exercise report (PDF, 3.3MB).

All mine sites and other agencies involved in the mine emergency incident response should review the recommendations, then conduct a gap analysis and periodic review of their own emergency response systems. This includes audit tool prompts and checklists.

The following recommendations arose from the exercise emergency response:

  • To enable a quick response to the mutual assistance group, all mines should identify what resources are required for each operation.
  • All mines should release personnel at the time of a level 1 exercise. This is part of the mines rescue agreement and the only effective way an emergency response can be tested. All coal mine workers must react as if it were a real event.
  • To enable efficient communication and site monitoring, the industry standard should be to have 2 control room operators in the control room at all times.
  • All mines should have an electronic database and information sharing system. This should be a commercially available system or the one developed by QMRS, targeting mine emergency management and incident control. These systems should be used as part of the everyday mine communications and data transfer systems, not just for emergency response.
  • Mines should improve their preparation for dealing with social and mainstream media in the event of an emergency by
    • considering the consequences of misinformation on emergency response situations
    • reviewing their emergency response plans and developing action plans to counteract misinformation on social and mainstream media
    • developing social media communities to ensure next of kin and the community have a reliable single source of information in emergency situations
    • considering media training for key personnel who might be called on to respond to media enquiries.

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