October 28, 2021
Sara Hines was intimidated when she took on the role of site check inspector (SSHR) at Curragh mine near Blackwater.
She knew there would be a steep learning curve to understand all the safety hazards on site, become familiar with legislation, policies and procedures and get comfortable dealing with site senior executive and inspectors.
But two and a half years into the role, her confidence has grown and she’s passionate about improving safety at Curragh and across the industry.
The great job Sara is doing as SSHR has been recognised by her employer Coronado, who are nominating her in the Exceptional Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician Category in the Queensland Resources Council’s International Women’s Day Awards.
Sara is one of four female check inspectors in the Queensland coal industry, but she hopes to encourage more women to put their hands up for the challenging but satisfying role.
It involves conducting safety inspections, reviewing procedures, reporting unsafe practices generating a monthly report and fielding regular calls from fellow coal miners about safety issues – all in addition to her role as an operator.
“When the previous SSHR moved on, my workmates encouraged me to stand for the role as I was always speaking up about safety,” she said.
“I am looking forward to staying in the role for the long-term as I believe that the knowledge developed over time about safety issues across the mine is extremely valuable – from cleaning to emergency response to drill and blast.
“Safety of workers is our industry’s most important challenge as we learnt at Curragh with a tragic fatality in 2019. That put a fire in my belly to prevent anything like that happening again. I have had a safe career and I want that for every coal mine worker.
“Not speaking up about safety can be a challenge in the mining industry as people don’t want to draw attention to themselves. I work hard to build relationships with people so that no-one on site will ever feel they didn’t have someone to talk to about safety.”
Sara has worked in the coal industry for 16 years and is looking forward to staying in the industry and at Curragh for the rest of her working life.
“Mining is a great industry and women should be able to take up all the opportunities it offers. Sometimes, women can be reluctant to put themselves forward due to lack of confidence but whether it’s SSHR, delegate or training opportunities – my message is to go for it.”
Good luck Sara, we think you’re a worthy winner!