Optimising the Collection of Information for Effective Use in the Event of an Emergency at an Underground Coal Mine

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: July 09Project Number: C17008

Get ReportAuthor: David Cliff | Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, University of Queensland

The aim of this project was to optimise the information collection and reporting processes used in emergencies in underground coal mines to ensure rapid and effective response, minimising the risk to life.  This was to be achieved through evaluating the current emergency management systems at mines, identifying good practice and also areas that needed improvement.


Ineffective and time consuming information collection, display and analysis continue to be major problems identified in the level one emergency preparedness exercises run each year in Queensland underground coal mines.  The events in the USA over recent times at Sago, Aracoma and Darby mines also bear testament to this problem.  


The areas of focus for the new project were to be on three key areas: the control room, senior mine official on site and the incident management area.  The control room in particular is a key area where accurate information is required during an incident especially in the early stages until a senior mine official can take charge.  The control room remains the first point of contact during an incident for most personnel.  Speedy evacuation and in seam response is predicated upon knowing what is happening and where everyone is.


This project aimed to improve the quality of information collection, analysis and dissemination at underground coal mines, the reduction in time taken to acquire the information and make decisions, and the associated improvement in emergency response capacity.


A number of mines in NSW and Queensland were visited and their emergency management systems were analysed.  In Queensland this was undertaken as part of the author's involvement in the Level One Emergency Response Exercises.


A series of twenty recommendations for further action have been compiled and are included in the report.


The main findings of this project were:

· At most mines the Emergency Management System was a paper document that had not been properly tested;

· Most mines had no idea what information would be necessary in an emergency particularly what would be required to ensure rapid re-entry for rescue purposes.  There is an urgent need to define the minimum information requirements;

· There is a need to define an industry wide competency for Control Room Operators; and

· Mines need to significantly increase the training carried out in emergency preparedness and response especially in the management of incidents.



Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

C28033Raw Ash To Yield Relationships

Correct outcomes in yield predictions for product ash from coal bore...

C27038Establishing Self-Sustaining And Recognisable Ecological Mine Rehabilitation

In recent years an increasing interest has been placed on mining ope...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook