Coal mine safety seminars enlighten

Coal Mines Technical Services (CMTS) educated university students and hygiene specialists at two events recently on the importance and difficulties associated with managing environmental hazards in underground coalmines.

At the first event, 32 students studying their masters in occupational hygiene in practice at the University of Wollongong took part in a three-day practical training seminar in Wollongong.

During the first two days at the North Wollongong CMTS facility, they were given training in gas detection techniques as well as in raw engine emission testing and diesel particulate analysis.

The students spent the third day at the Coal Services office in Woonona where they received training in hygiene sampling, sampling equipment, the contaminants and the techniques unique to the underground coalmining environment.

CMTS is part of the Coal Services group and the teams at its sister division, Mines Rescue, ran a tour through the station's underground gallery and virtual reality facilities.

Before this, less than 10 per cent of the students had ever been underground.

The three-day seminar was immediately followed by the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienist annual conference and exhibition in Sydney.

There was also a visit to the Woonona Coal Services office.

The opportunities late last year allowed hygienists to gain an understanding of the sampling practices and environmental difficulties in managing hygiene in the coalmining industry.

The delegates were also able to gain exposure into the realities of mining environment with a tour of the underground gallery and virtual reality facilities.

CMTS manager Peter Mason described both events as very successful.

"We welcome the opportunity to participate in any educational exercises that may have the ability, today or in the future, to protect our workers," he said.

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