The West

Survival skills put to the test
ERGT Australian managing director Shane Addis at the company's new $20 million sea survival training pool in Jandakot. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

They say good things come in threes.

WA's mining boom was accompanied by one in oil and gas, and now the safety training industry is enjoying an upturn on the back of those thriving sectors.

ERGT Australia has ridden the safety boom wave, providing 40,000 training days a year at its facilities around Australia, including at a new $20 million centre in Jandakot.

Managing director Shane Addis said safety was initially considered a passing fad when it first emerged as a serious issue in the resource sector in the 1980s.

Mr Addis said a cultural change had made safety a key performance indicator.

"A good analogy is seatbelts in cars," he said.

"You wouldn't drive a car without a seatbelt these days, and you wouldn't work on site without safety training."

The Jandakot facility features a fully immersive training environment that teaches workers how to avoid and survive dangerous situations, including fire and underwater crashes.

The basic offshore safety and emergency training course has proved useful because increasing numbers of workers commute to rigs aboard helicopters.

Mr Addis said the courses taught workers practical steps to ensure their survival.

It also gave them the skills to ensure they did not panic, which could otherwise cloud their judgment in an emergency.

ERGT was responsible for the training given to Brazilian pilot Adilson Kindlemann ahead of the 2010 Red Bull air crash when his MXS-R race plane dived into the Swan River.

The training had taught him to not give into the urge to unbuckle his seatbelt after crashing but to first locate the exit before the water started to fill the cockpit.

Mr Kindlemann later credited his trainers for his safe escape.

The West Australian

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