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Emily Braithwaite

4.30 AM

Up and at ‘em! Working on a mine site means an early start, which at the moment is great because I beat the heat and see the sunrise.  Once I’ve signed in I’ve got half hour to sign onto paperwork, check e-mails, and write my to do list for the day.

6.00 AM

Pre-start meeting. It’s our daily what’s what – what the plan is, what hazards to look out for (like if it’s a really hot day, or there might be thunderstorms, or a pandemic), pop quiz on our life saving rules. At the moment, it’s socially distanced, so everyone has a number on the ground to stand on. After the pre-start it’s off to Monadelphous’ toolbox, which is further detail of who is allocated to which task, the equipment being used, any business updates, and the daily incident summary. Then we sign off on the permits and JHA, and the guys go inspect their work areas and do Take 5’s.

6.30 AM

Time to get to work!

My job is with the structural integrity team – we are tasked with fixing up the ~2000 structural defects identified on this ~50 year old coal mine. Those defects can be as small as a bent load bar, or as big as reworking an entire tower. It’s really interesting working in a seconded roll (i.e. being on the client’s side of things). Everyone’s right when they tell you that there’s a huge variety of work at Monadelphous; I’ve worked on fixing manholes in the middle of a busy Bondi street, relining the hundred year old huge sewer tunnels that run under Sydney, implementing an improved way to dewater human waste to make it easier to dispose of, installing a new sample station at a mine site, tendering in Sydney, working on a coal mine shut down… There’s a LOT to do and learn! So it’s nice to be in one place for a bit and get a better understanding of what happens before and after Monadelphous would be awarded a job from the client.

My morning is spent looking at defect reports and doing some problem solving to come up with a plan to fix it. This includes:

  • Going and taking pictures of the defect & area
  • Taking note of any access challenges around
  • Marking up any drawings of the area if there are any notable differences

10.00 AM

Daily meeting.

I get to chair the meetings, and Captain Risky reminds me to do our Monadelphous Health & Safety / Cultural moment, where I’ll get someone to share something that they’ve experienced relating to work.

Our meeting is to identify any challenges the supervisors, engineers, and managers in our team have come across, and to try and solve those together. It’s also to keep track of progress on key issues through our action register – which is really like an engineers to-do list, so of course it’s in excel.

11.00 AM

Isolation meeting

These are something new to me. It gives me an insight into the regular maintenance tasks around the mine, and how much planning, managing, and sheer scale of the workforce goes into keeping it going. I go to make sure that the Structural Integrity project gets the isolations they need, and to co-ordinate with other works planned in the area to make sure we are as safe and efficient as possible.

12.30 PM

Lunchtime. Lunch can be at my desk, or even outside watching the local wallabies! During lunch, there’s a mix of company shirts and backgrounds, which makes it fun and interesting!

1.00 PM

Let’s talk safety

To kick start the afternoon I complete an audit or safety interaction with the crews getting back to work. This is where I go out into the plant and get a hands on look at what we’re doing. It’s educational, and the crew appreciate that I’m there to learn, so being a grad, I get to ask all the silly questions my heart desires. It may be on some works above or near a train line, on electricians running new cable, on crane operations, or on scaffolding. After my audit/interaction it’s back to the office to get some more done on those scopes or checking in with suppliers to see they’re on track.

4.30 PM

Knock off time. It’s usually 4.30/5pm or 2.30pm on Fridays! The drive home is beautiful and takes about 30 minutes.

5.00 PM

Home time. Singleton is a mining town, so lots of pubs, pizza, gyms, and footy fields. And a library open to 7pm to cater to all the late workers, which I do love. It’s also only 30 minutes to Maitland (a heritage town that’s got a fair bit going for it – art, games stores, cafes, bars & parks) or 20 minutes to the Hunter Valley’s vineyards! And on weekends you can travel an hour and get to Port Macquarie, Newcastle, or the surrounding national parks, which are amazing!!

When I get back home, I usually spend the next 4 hours before bed with some combination of going to the gym, cooking dinner with my partner, catching up with friends or family on Zoom, gardening (the soil here is incredible, so easy to grow veggies!), playing a board game, reading a great book, or watching something on Netflix and relaxing.