Importance of emergency response training

On 31 March 2022, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws replaced the health and safety elements of the Mines Safety and Inspection laws. For information visit

All health and safety notifications, forms and guidance for mining and petroleum has moved to the WorkSafe website

What do emergency response teams do?

Mining operations need to respond appropriately to incidents on site.

Many operations have emergency response teams to respond to incidents with the potential to threaten lives and assets. These highly skilled emergency response teams may also be asked to assist in nearby emergency situations at other mine sites or in their community.

Why is training important?

The type of mining operation and its hazards pose different risks for the emergency response team. Teams may need to deal with scenarios involving:

  • hazardous materials
  • fires
  • breathing apparatus
  • rescues at height or underground.

Members of the emergency response team should be formally trained and understand the site’s emergency response plan and the emergency management system, as well as their own roles and responsibilities.

Emergency responders should be trained and assessed as competent in:

  • basic safety awareness
  • extricating techniques and first aid
  • the use of fire-fighting equipment
  • dealing with gases (e.g. use of gas testing equipment)
  • the use and maintenance of closed-circuit breathing apparatus
  • mines rescue procedures and protocols
  • where applicable, underground requirements
  • how to deal with site-specific hazards.

For information on emergency response training courses and providers, visit the Department of Industry’s Skills Training.

Role of mines rescue competitions

Mines rescue competitions provide a valuable opportunity for emergency response teams to test and hone their skills across a wide range of realistic emergency response scenarios. Competitions are also an opportunity to demonstrate competency, and identify potential gaps in training and knowledge.

Some large mining companies run in-house competitions between sites.

Several organisations present competitions on behalf of industry, and these are proudly supported by the Department of Mines and Petroleum through sponsorship and the involvement of staff.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) hosts surface and underground mine emergency response competitions in the regions.

Visit the CME website to find out when Mine Emergency Response Competitions are planned.

The Mining Emergency Response Competition (MERC) is a Perth-based competition that also provides an opportunity for the general public to see the value and importance of emergency response and rescue training in Western Australia’s mining industry.

For a glimpse into what is involved in planning the competition and what happens during the event, check out this latest video from MERC.

Find out more about MERC.