Your emergency plan is the primary means of responding to emergencies at the mine.
In the event of any incident that involves the risk of serious injury or death, the emergency plan must be immediately implemented.
The plan should detail how to respond to all types of incidents that could happen and should be used when making decisions about planning or in response to incidents at the mine.
How to create an emergency plan
The recommended steps to follow when developing an emergency plan include:
Develop a working group of people who have the required knowledge and experience. At a minimum such personnel should have experience in health and safety, mine rescue, mine operations, risk management and administration.
Define the Emergency Plan's aim and objectives, keeping in mind its coverage is to be comprehensive, while keeping the structure as concise, simple and flexible as possible.
Gain a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the mine's Major Mining Hazards (MMH) and mining hazards. This should be done whilst referencing any Safety Assessments completed prior by the mine. Such Safety Assessments will provide an understanding of hazard risk and any implemented controls which will be relied upon during MMH events (e.g. Rock Fall event within a main decline and escape ways will be relied upon for personnel egress).
Develop a documented plan containing employee roles, procedures to be followed, allocation/location of resources, and communication requirements. Employees are to be consulted with during this process.
Monitor and review the plan’s effectiveness.
You must create your emergency plan in conjunction with:
local emergency services
local municipal council/s (where you have identified major mining hazards that could impact the local community)
You must consult with employees and health and safety representatives when preparing the emergency plan.
In the case of a prescribed mine, you must provide all employees with information, instruction and training in relation to the emergency plan.
You will most likely have documentation that can feed in to your emergency plan, such as:
fire safety studies
the plan of the mine
technical information of emergency equipment and fire systems
communications equipment list
list of rescue equipment,
and shift rosters
Read the WorkSafe guidance on Consulting with employees and Health and Safety Representatives.
Read the WorkSafe guidance on Safety assessments for mines.
Create documentation that is fit for purpose
Anyone who needs to follow the emergency plan must be able to read and understand it.
Your plan should be written and set out as clearly as possible and translated into languages others than English as needed.
Where possible, use pictures and diagrams that can be easily understood.
What to include in your emergency plan
Regulation 433 lists what mines must consider when developing an emergency plan. Below is a summary of these requirements alongside relevant examples.
Basic information about the mine
The following basic information should be included:
Name of the mine
Name of the operating company
Location in relation to the nearest town
Location using latitude and longitude
Mailing address and contact telephone numbers (as well as fax number and e-mail address if applicable)
Mining lease number or Property Details
Name of relevant personnel (e.g. managers or emergency contacts)
Type of operation (e.g., underground, surface, quarry, exploration, sand and gravel)
List of chemical stores on the site
Maximum and minimum number of persons expected at the mine
Maximum number of persons likely to be affected by a major mining hazard event
Infrastructure likely to be affected by a major mining hazard event
Emergency planning assumptions, for example a description of the major mining events that may occur and the extent and nature of their influence within and beyond the mine's site boundary.
A stand-alone page or pages with the above information should be posted near phone and radio points dedicated for use in emergencies.
The emergency plan should provide clear written directions to the site, including maps/plans that can be used for navigation. The plan should also identify locations for possible transfer sites from mine emergency transport vehicles to public ambulances.
Plan of the mine
A detailed plan of the mine must be kept on-site and be available for inspection, pursuant to regulation 437 of the OHS Regulations.
The plan must clearly show:
workings, and any disused workings, of the mine
ventilation system, including all fans
locations of switchboard, transformers and fixed plant associated with electricity distribution system
telephone locations and other fixed plant associated with radio and telecommunications
water dams and tailing dams
natural features surrounding the mine
where hydrocarbons or explosives are stored
The plan must be regularly revised so that mine workings, including disused workings, are accurately shown.
Your plan should also include details of:
all emergency facilities, including:
helicopter landing areas
first aid kits, fire extinguishers and hydrants
relevant reticulation services (e.g. electrical, gas), particularly underground services and power lines
where toxic materials are kept on site, for example: cyanide and sulphuric acid, and any corresponding controls.
These locations should be clearly sign posted.
Maintain contact lists for emergency assistance
The emergency plan should contain a contemporary list of contact names and phone numbers. Each name is to have an allocated role which will be performed in the event of an emergency, for example: Emergency Controller. The contacts list is to be periodically reviewed to maintain accuracy.
Your emergency plan should include a separate page or pages with contact information for persons and external agencies that may need to be reached during an emergency.
Below are examples of contacts that should be included:
Resources and contacts
Assistance they can provide
Advice and resources approval
Fire and Rescue
State Emergency Services
Neighbouring mines and businesses
General assistance, Memorandums of Understanding for mutual assistance
Legal obligations and assistance
Consultants and equipment specialist
Specific technical advice
Incident control and emergency response procedure
Make sure you identify:
first steps – who to call, how to call and when to call
who is responsible for implementing the emergency response
who is in charge of controlling the emergency operations
what communication systems are to be used during an emergency response (e.g. two-way radio, mobile phone, satellite phone)
list of tasks that need to be assigned to help manage the emergency and instructions on how to carry out the above tasks
on-site or on-call personnel who are trained in the use of rescue equipment.
Ensure that employees and visitors have appropriate training so they understand their responsibilities and what to do in an emergency.
Your emergency plan may need to include site-specific procedures on how you will control:
site-specific hazards (such as cyanide and sulphuric acid)
safe evacuation and muster of personnel
disconnecting essential services
containment of any incident
rescue of personnel
management of incident spectators
preventing unauthorised access to the site, and
liaison with emergency services.
Emergency equipment and facilities
The equipment and facilities needed to deal with emergencies should be identified in the mine’s safety management system.
A list of the actual equipment and facilities available on-site should be recorded in the emergency plan.
Examples of emergency equipment and facilities:
First aid supplies
Fire pumps and extinguishers
Equipment that can be assigned to an emergency task (e.g., a bulldozer or excavator used to build roads and trails can be used in an emergency to dam or dyke a flood; Water truck for fire-fighting)
Industrial ambulance or emergency transport vehicle
Helicopter landing areas
External agencies that can source specific equipment, and
External agencies that can provide specific services.
First aid supplies
In the event of emergency, on-site first aid equipment and facilities are essential.
To ensure first aid equipment is adequate and appropriate you should:
identify hazards which may cause an injury or illness (also consider employees existing illnesses, for example: diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, heart conditions)
assess the risk based on the type and extent of injuries or illnesses that may occur
decide on the appropriate first aid equipment and facilities - standard or generic first aid kits may need to be added to or modified to ensure they meet the needs of the mine
obtain the identified first aid equipment and facilities
monitor and review first aid equipment, facilities and services to ensure they continue to meet requirements.
The first aid kit must be appropriate for the types of injuries and illnesses likely to occur at the mine.
The first aid kit can be any size, but must be large enough to fit all the required contents.
A portable kit, or multiple kits, may be required.
Consider placing appropriate kits in all mobile equipment.
First aid kits' locations should be clearly signed.
Include single use, disposable items in the kit where possible - reusable items must be cleaned, sterilised and disinfected.
Operators of prescribed mines must provide a means for employees to exit the mine in addition to the hoisting shaft, decline or exit normally used. The emergency exit must be:
functional and adequately maintained so it can be used, and
clearly signposted so it can be found during an incident.
You must ensure your safety management system provides details on how you:
maintain the emergency exit and ensure it is without obstruction and ready for use
ensure employees can find the exit during an emergency
test the emergency exit to ensure it is fit for purpose
inform employees about when and how to use it, and
consult with affected employees and Health and Safety Representatives when planning or making changes to the emergency exit
Operators of an underground mine must provide self-rescuers to any person who goes underground at the mine in accordance with regulation 436 of the OHS Regulations.
If reasonably practicable, employees should be provided with self-contained self-rescuers. Filter self-rescuers should be provided where it is not reasonably practicable to provide self-contained self-rescuers.
Your safety assessment should detail the reasons why particular types of self-rescuer were accepted or rejected for use at the mine.
To ensure you have enough self-rescuers available, consider the testing and maintenance requirements of all units and the potential for increased numbers on site due to maintenance, turn-arounds and visitors to the mine.
Training in use of self-rescuers
Anyone who goes underground at the mine must be trained how to operate and use the self-rescuer provided to them. Topics that should be covered during training include:
when to use the self-rescuer
how and what to expect when using the self-rescuer
the symptoms of CO2 build-up, and
how to resolve faults with the self-rescuer
What to do with your emergency plan
To ensure the effectiveness of your emergency plan when you need it most:
keep a copy of the emergency plan at the mine for use by emergency services and for inspection on request.
make sure it is displayed where it can be easily accessed - contact details should be kept and displayed near phones and radios, and
send a copy of the emergency plan to the emergency services and government agencies who have been involved in preparing the plan.
Regularly test the emergency plan
The emergency plan must be tested every year to ensure its effectiveness.
Tests and drills with affected persons
At a minimum, you should conduct table top tests as well as drills with all affected persons, including those outside the mine, such as emergency services.
In some cases, evacuation drills will be required to examine persons’ movements, actions and response times, including contractors.
Exercise debriefing should take place to analyse the plan's effectiveness. Any identified additional controls or changes to controls should be undertaken as soon as practicable after the exercise.
Note: Evacuating persons from the site for blasting purposes does not equate to a drill.
Test specific elements
Your emergency plan should address all aspects of emergency response, including:
how self-rescuers are used under simulated emergency conditions (e.g. dark, dusty, smoky environments where there is time pressure to operate the self-rescuers).
a system to quickly locate all persons within the mine at any time
how you provide adequate rescue equipment
how you take into account shift arrangements for employees and involve contractors if they have a role in the plan
how you ensure persons trained in the use of rescue equipment are either on-site or available on-call
how effective the escape system is as a whole by testing all relevant caches, change over stations and refill stations, and
opportunities for employees to practice their role in an emergency, such as
raising the alarm
identifying who to contact
locating and using rescue and firefighting equipment, and