Friday 22 May 2020

Please visit the WorkSafe website to understand their approach during this time. 

letter from the Agency about the impact of COVID-19 on the Pike River Mine site.

Pike River Recovery Agency information to staff about the COVID-19 situation below:

PRRA Staff Weekly Update # 1 – Friday 22 May 2020

Hi everyone – Hope all is well with you! 

Welcome to the first of the Pike River Recovery Agency’s weekly staff updates that will be produced each Friday.  The weekly updates will include operational information and also updates relating to COVID-19.  Please forward any contributions to me that would be of interest to the team.


Alert Level 2       

Cabinet will meet on Monday 25 May 2020 to review the Alert Level status. 

Changes to the number of people at funerals and tangihanga

Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 2.

On 13 May 2020 the Government announced changes to the number of people who can attend funerals and tangihanga at Alert Level 2.

These changes balance the significant risk of COVID-19 spreading with the need for people to come together to grieve their loved ones.

At Alert Level 2, funeral directors can seek approval to allow up to 50 people to attend a funeral or tangihanga. The Ministry of Health must be satisfied that a range of public health measures can consistently be met, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and no food and drink congregations afterwards.

NZ COVID Tracer app released (20 May 2020)

The Ministry of Health has released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand.  People who download the app can record the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to business premises, other organisations and public buildings.  People can also register their contact information through the app to make sure the National Close Contact Service can get in touch if they need to.

Any business or public facing organisation with a New Zealand Business Number can generate a QR code poster for each of their premises through the Business Connect online service.  NZ COVID Tracer is available from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

Golden rules for business at Alert Level 2

Do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at work — we all have a part to play in keeping each other safe. 

  1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
  2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are still encouraged where possible.
  3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
  4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors and others, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
  5. Keep groups of people at least 1 metre apart, or 2 metres for retail businesses.
  6. Keep contact tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction for example workers, contractors or customers. Retail businesses are not required to keep contact tracing records.
  7. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
  8. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

Safety Notice Alcohol based hand sanitisers

                                                                                                                        From the MinEx Safety Alert – 22 May 2020

Physical Distancing (not social distancing)

In an uncontrolled environment, such as interactions between the members of the public, a distance of 2 metres is appropriate.  However, a workplace is a controlled environment and this means that risks can be managed in other ways. For example, using screens or personal protective equipment like masks and gloves may allow you to safely work at smaller distances.

Don’t do activities alone if it is unsafe to do so.  For example, you may need 2 people to lift heavy items safely.  Consider whether you can use equipment instead.  Or if the task isn’t urgent, consider leaving it until you can better manage all health and safety risks.

Keep a safe distance


"Physical distancing" is a better term than social distancing. We have to stay socially connected through this. Community building, togetherness, and emotional connections via electronic devices are imperative for our mental health.

We can stay in connection with each other on the phone, webcam, and many other online formats. Now is a time to be intentional and interactive and not to isolate. We are wired to be social and luckily can maintain that with technology.


Driver Training

Dr Gene Brown (Driver Technical and Training Services) will be visiting the West Coast on Wednesday 24 June 2020 to provide theory and practical driver training at the Pike River mine site for Agency staff who have come on board since the last training was held in early August 2019.  

Flu Shots

Any Agency staff who have not yet had their free flu shot and would like one, please phone Coastal Health (70-74 Cowper Street, Greymouth) on 768 5942 to arrange a suitable time to have this done.  Just mention that you work for the Agency or where appropriate wear a PPE item.

Health & Safety

The office site workgroup held their H&S meeting on Tuesday 19 May 2020.  Topics of discussion included working from home, mental wellbeing and flu shots.

The mine site weekly H&S meeting was also held on Tuesday 19 May 2020.  Items discussed included the recommencement of surface audits at the mine site, protocols relating to Covid-19, safe work observations and holding refresher training for the work force on all Principal Hazard Management Plans (PHMPs) and Principal Control Plans (PCPs).

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing steering committee will meet via teleconference on Monday 15 June 2020. 

Re-entry and recovery operations – as at Thursday 21 May midnight

Two shifts have been operating at the mine site over the past week while observing Alert Level 2 protocols.  During this time there have been no required unscheduled call outs to site, and no security issues.  There have been no known cases of actual or possible infection among Agency staff or their families. From an operational viewpoint this week achievements included:

  • 144 roof bolts installed
  • Removed conveyor belt
  • Reconnaissance barrier up to 493m
  • Completed forensics to 490m
  • Advanced ventilation and services
  • Geotech and hazard assessment from 475m to 493m.
  • Installed GA180 compressor unit.
  • Changed over to BOC compressor for venturi.
  • Arrange fire suppression checks UG plant.
  • GC run done.
  • TBS (tube bundle system) calibrated and leak testing completed.
  • PRDH55 pumped down 1 metre.
  • Real-time sensor monthly calibrations completed.
  • Rocsil plug container ready for load trial has been moved from site, and
  • Strata meeting was held with the relevant technical experts.

Work planned from Friday 22 May onwards and the coming week includes:

  • Drift recovery operations – there is no prescribed bolting between 495 and 1050m.
  • The cycle of reconnaissance, forensics, services, ventilation, monitoring, communications and the refuge chamber will be advanced in 20m increments, as well as removing the conveyor structure and installing geotechnical tell-tale monitors.


Businesses on the West Coast

A new website is available to check out local businesses that are open on the Coast:

A collaboration between EPIC Westport, Development West Coast (DWC) and Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) has led to the development of , an online business directory and a companion app (Eats | Now Open) championing West Coast businesses operating during the COVID-19 crisis.

The directory of over 240 West Coast businesses aims to let the public know which businesses are currently operating. 

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne says this project has been a true testament to collaboration – Coasters working together to support each other. The website has already been praised by the PM and featured on TVNZ Breakfast .

Check out the website and Support Local!


Answers to Quiz Questions from Wednesday 13 May 2020 (out of 10)


1. __________ breeds contempt.              Familiarity

2. There’s many a slip, twixt cup and the __________.     Lip

3. A fool and his __________ are soon parted.    Money

4. A nod is as good as a __________ to a blind horse.       Wink

5. Barking dogs seldom __________.       Bite

6. March comes in like a lion and goes out like a __________.      Lamb

7. Nature abhors a __________. Vacuum

8. __________ seed goes nine times to the Devil.              Parsley

9. __________ is better than cure.            Prevention

10. Love of __________ is the root of all evil.       Money

Today’s Quiz Questions (out of 10)

A free quiz from

Please note down your answers and you can score yourself when the answers come out in the next weekly update.  Please No Googling - Good luck!


If answered correctly, the ten answers to these questions will be the numbers from one to ten.

1. How many players are there on a netball team?

2. How many ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Oscars has Meryl Streep won?

3. If you subtract the number of sides on a heptagon from the number of sides on a dodecagon what answer do you get?

4. How many years did Tony Blair serve as Prime Minister of the UK? 

5. Which number lies directly opposite the number three on a standard die?

6. The French number ‘neuf’ is what in English?

7. The width of a piece of A4 paper is approximately 21 centimetres – How many inches is that?

8. How many Olympic Gold medals were won by Kelly Holmes during her running career?

9. How many feet are there in a fathom?

10. How many terms did Jimmy Carter serve as US President?

Take care everyone and stay safe! Have a great weekend – I’m off to my local beach.

Best regards


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms include a fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a range of other illnesses such as influenza and do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19.  If you have these symptoms call Healthline (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or your local doctor for the most up to date professional advice.  If you are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services.

What should I do about work if I’m showing symptoms?
First, contact Healthline or your doctor.  Let your manager know what’s happening.  

How do I protect myself?
You should always practice good hygiene by: 

  • covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, or cough/sneeze into your elbow – that catches the droplets and stops them getting on your hands.
  • washing hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap, and drying them thoroughly:
  • before eating or handling food
  • after using the toilet
  • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
  • after caring for sick people
  • after handling pets.

People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice good cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues, and wash hands). If you have concerns, you can contact the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453.

The Government website is the source of truth for all information.