Adapting mine rescue standards – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – May 10, 2017)

Innovations, transparency features of 2016 competition

In 2015, when it was announced that Sudbury would host the 2016 International Mines Rescue Competition (IMRC), Ontario Mine Rescue and Workplace Safety North — the lead coordinators for the event — had to decide exactly what they wanted the competition to be.

It was the first time the event was to be held in Canada, but after years of Ontario teams competing in other jurisdictions around the globe, they knew what they didn’t want: primarily, events that favoured the home community, a lack of transparency, and unrealistic simulations in an arena setting, said Ted Hanley, Ontario Mine Rescue’s general manager.

“Ontario had two teams that travelled to the Polish competition (in 2014), and while the logistics and the cultural exchange were fantastic, the big frustration was in the competition itself,” Hanley said during the 2017 Workplace Safety North mining conference, held in Sudbury in April. “It wasn’t challenging, and they didn’t learn anything.”

So, the two organizations set out to introduce elements that would not only challenge the competitors, but would, they hoped, also set the standard for future competitions. That approach started right in the planning stages. First and foremost, they wanted the competition to be fair and transparent, and so rather than rely solely on Ontario’s rules and experts, they incorporated judges, technical volunteers, and rules from other jurisdictions.

“For the first time ever, we attempted…to look abroad and gathered input from international participants for how that competition should be run,” Hanley said.
The competition comprised 27 teams from 13 nations, for a total of 350 competitors and delegates, in addition to 117 technical judges and volunteers representing another six nations.

Hanley said that’s “far beyond the representation that any previous international competition has had.”

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