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Underground Mines Emergency Protocol approved

Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Police

Hon Simon Bridges
Minister of Labour

13 December 2013

Underground Mines Emergency Protocol approved

Police Minister Anne Tolley and Labour Minister Simon Bridges today announced the approval of the Underground Mines Emergency Protocol, developed in response to a recommendation by the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy.

The protocol provides high level guidance on managing a major underground mine or tunnel emergency. It sets out the persons and agencies responsible for responding, their key functions, duties, and roles, and the lines of authority for decision making and communication.

“Developing the new protocol over the past year has been a multi-agency effort. Implementation of the protocol will require close collaboration between the Police, Mines Rescue Service, WorkSafe New Zealand, Fire Service and the mining industry,” Mrs Tolley says.

Mr Bridges says under the new protocol the incident controller at an underground emergency must have mining expertise.

“The incident controller will be supported by an incident management team made up of the Mines Rescue Service, WorkSafe NZ, the Police and the mine operator. Together they will be responsible for coordinating the emergency effort and approving key decisions.”

Mrs Tolley says the protocol also provides for an emergency coordination centre led by the Police.

“The centre will coordinate and support aspects of any rescue effort, focusing on facilities management, event administration, and communication with families, media and government.”

The protocol is supported by the new Mines Rescue Act 2013 which gives WorkSafe NZ the job of issuing and maintaining the emergency response protocol. The Act also sets out powers and protections for the Incident Controller, enabling them to lead effectively in the event of an underground mining emergency.

Implementation of the protocol will take a phased approach, and will take effect from December 2014.

The Underground Mines Emergency Protocol is available here:http://www.business.govt.nz/healthandsafetygroup/news/in-focus/pike-river/underground-mines-emergency-protocol

ENDS

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