Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Jakeman, M (ed), Developments in self escape and aided rescue arising for the Moura No.2 Wardens Inquiry - A Special Report by the Joint Coal Industry Committee from Queensland and New South Wales, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 718-756.


Although the coal industry in Australia continues to expand and chase improvements in technology, equipment, training and safety , the industry still suffers from underground incidents which have tragic consequences for individuals and families. The responsibility is for all stakeholders, employers, employees and support agencies to remove causes and behaviors which create such incidents. This will make underground coal mining safer for all personnel. The fundamental mind set to safety perfomlance has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. During the early 1980's, the recognition was made that the industry safety perfomlance was ve:ry poor. At the end of that decade and by the early 1990's many large companies, together with government and the unions were supporting safety training programs to reduce Lost Time Injuries -the high level measure of safety. These programs produced varying levels of success, but developed a sceptism amongst some parts of the industry where the reslllts were managed, not the risks. A few incidents occurred in the early to mid 1990's which showed that the rate of change and the approaches to the management of safety were not good enough. The industry started to look at Risk Management and the need to formally quantify the risks, controls and protection to improve safety performan(;e. The Wardens Inquiry into the accident at Moura No.2 in 1994 highlighted the need to review rescue operations for persons underground. A coal industry committee, already set up to review the fundamentals of coal mines rescue, was given the task to review escape and rescue options by the Queensland Chief Inspector of Coal Mines. The committee consisted of a broad cross section of major stakeholders of the NSW and Queensland coal industry .The process of review was fundamental, exhaustive and widespread in its scope. It was clearly appreciated by all the committee members that escape and rescue options for mine personnel could be substantially updated and improved. The mind set previously held, That mines rescue was the calvary charging over the will to rescue people, needed to be changed in response to recent major incidents. This change would encompass the techniques, equipment, design of mines aJrld the role of the rescue service. The work has taken 2.5 years to get to this stage and will require the stakeholders in this industry to implement the recommendations, complete R and D projects and participate in the infonnation sharing that will be necessary to sustain these improvements. I would like to thank all those who have contributed including the sub committee participants. The active involvement, participation and dedication of everyone, has recognised only the need to improve safety without the barriers of state, political or industrial interference. It is encouraging to know that we can work together for the common good when the need is greatest.