2012 QLD Mining and Safety Conference
This year I was lucky enough to represent QRC at the annual Queensland Mining and Safety Conference held in Townsville. The trip was fully catered and paid for with thanks to the University of Queensland Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre. This trip proved to be extremely beneficial and eye opening. It gave me a firsthand view of the mining industry and the professionals that work within it.
During the course of the week there were many issues addressed by a range of professional speakers from a vast array of professions and backgrounds. Some of these presentations included Dr John Tickell. Dr Tickell addressed the ongoing issue of general health including the importance it plays in the workplace. His words left a solid reminder that health and safety is not all about the safety as can often be the case. Among the other speakers there were professionals from an assortment of industries speaking about issues ranging from the Pike River disaster to the use of untraceable designer drugs in industry. As a student sitting among these talks often references and discourse would be hard to follow. But the message and information was all there to be soaked up and stored as I continue to grow in my own experiences.
Another interesting feature of the conference was the innovation awards. People were asked to present design innovations that they had come up with to counter safety concerns in their workplace. This section was easy to relate to the current projects and tasks I complete at university. Many of these ides appeared to be simple but had complex problems to counter and genius in design. All the applicants had done very well in providing viable solutions to their given safety risk. Interestingly the applicants for these awards came from an array of fields. From boilermakers too engineers and hired workers too contractors.
In addition to the formalised presentations and sessions the conference doubled as an expo for leading safety material manufacturers and other mining related organisations. These stalls all provided interesting communication and learning as well as a range of free things.
ABOVE: One of the stalls at the conference included this impressive piece of machinery. It is used to pump high density steam into a coal mine after an explosion to extinguish fire and remove risk of further explosions.
I confess that the most memorable part of the conference for me was the social events. Each day was filled with information and the night with wondrous food and small talk. Entertainment included a magician, live auction, cabaret dancers as well as fine food and drink. It was obvious that many in attendance were there for the networking more so than the information provided. With such a range of delegates from so many professionals and companies the conference was an excellent opportunity for them all to mingle and converse casually on issue that they all faced. As a student in the middle of this I did my best to represent myself QRC and my university well. While I could not offer much in return there were many opportunities for me to talk to professionals who had years' experience in the mining industry. This was a unique and exciting opportunity and one which I believe has greatly helped me mature in a work sense and continues to fuel the drive I have for the Mining and energy sector and engineering in general.
ABOVE: The setup for the final evenings formal dinner made a very pretty picture.
Overall I found the Queensland Mining and safety conference to be an invaluable experience. It provided me with a unique insight into the industry and many professional contacts. I believe I am truly lucky to have experiences such an event and I would highly recommend it to anyone that has the chance. The things that you can learn and people you can meet are amazing.