Heidi Roberts – Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
In 2015 Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis was re-identified in Queensland Coal mine workers.
Since then, the department, coal mine companies and worker representative groups have been working together to reform the Coal Mine Worker’s Health Scheme and protect worker health.
There have been a number of important learnings along the way and this paper will present a summary of the journey over the past two years to create a better health scheme for coal mine workers, and areas where these learnings can be leveraged in the future.
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- Post explosion atmosphere monitoring:– An industry study into available, low powered, sensors were conducted. The study was to identify commercially available equipment to sample the mine atmosphere post an underground incident.
- Ultra-resilient communication system:– An investigation was undertaken into the feasibility of components for a robust and resilient mine communication network. The network must survive an underground incident and be able to transmit information in and out of an underground mine environment.
- Blast protection (or blast resilience):– The blast protection was evaluated through subjecting different shapes of enclosures to actual blasts, in an explosion propagation tube.
- Navigational aids:– A series of test were undertaken to determine the suitability of using visible light, infra-red as well as radar to aid in self rescue. All test were undertaken in a “dusty”, or low-visibility, environment.