While Hay Point and Goonyella Riverside Mine mark 50 years of operations in 2021, Ross Ogden celebrates 50 years at Goonyella in 2022.
We spoke to Ross about his journey - landing in the blast crew at Goonyella in November 1972 aged 17 and now 49 years on championing safety as the Site Safety Health Representative (SSHR).
“I was told there was plenty of work in Moranbah, so I went where the work was.”
Reflecting on his 49 years of service at Goonyella, Ross said it’s the friendships and the work that has kept him in the pit for so long.
“When you move to different places you need to re-establish yourself. When I first started at Goonyella the more experienced crew members really supported me with training and my development. And I respected their guidance.”
“Your workmates become good friends and everyone supports each other – particularly in those early days.”
“I’ve had good mates, good equipment and a good working environment – why go anywhere else?”
For Ross, the biggest changes to the industry over the last 49 years have been in safety and in his eyes they have been for the better.
“Changes in the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act and Coal Mining Regulations over the years have definitely made the pits safer!”
“I strongly believe that the processes and commitment to safety now in place give us the best chance of going home safely each day.”
As a Site Safety Health Representative for the last 30 years, safety is Ross’ number one priority.
His piece of advice for those working in mining or thinking of joining the industry:
“There’s no job on a mine site that is so important that you cannot take the time to stop and discuss what you believe is not right.”
“No one comes to work to injure themselves so the most important thing is for every one of us to walk out of the gate the same way we walked in – not injured or hurt.
“We do this and BHP is able to produce and sell the coal and we all get paid, safely.
“I never want to see another death on a mine, while I am here or not. The pain of an injury or death impacts the whole family life, not just the person.”
Ross’ granddaughter, Logan, joined Ross and the team at Goonyella five years ago and is working as a truck driver.
“Back when I started, someone had to retire or die for us to get a job so it’s great that future generations are able to get into mining more easily,” Ross said.
This year, Goonyella Riverside Mine and Hay Point Coal Terminal both celebrate 50 years of operations.
As part of the celebrations, Goonyella Riverside Mine is running a $50,000 for 50 years campaign where the site will donate $50,000 in grants to local community organisations or initiatives that improve the liveability of Moranbah and surrounding area.
"We wouldn’t we be where we are today without the contribution of our workforce and our local community, and this is one way of saying thank you," Sean Milful , General Manager, Goonyella Riverside Mine, said.