In 2018, CPA Group was awarded the medical and security services staffing contract with Peabody across a number of their Bowen Basin mining operations.
As a part of our transition, we met with some fantastic new staff. We talked to Oren Burg who definitely fits into that category!
Although he may well be CPA Group’s first bee-keeper (tell us if we are wrong!)
What is your professional background?
I joined the ADF – Army – in 1995 as a rifleman, and after deploying to East Timor in 2000, I found myself wanting more mental challenges, so I transferred to the medical corps, where I had a variety of challenging and educational postings and deployments and got a lot of training and experience in what’s now got the cool name of “tactical medicine” as well as experience in remote care, counselling and education.
After I discharged in 2008, I discovered some issues with recognition of my defence qualifications and had to take a break from the medical industry for a few years.
Trying to deal with the culture shock of life “outside” of the military and medical worlds, I bummed around for a few years as a personal trainer and self-defence instructor as well as working in a variety of roles in the security industry.
In 2014, I was offered a hybrid security/ medical responder role in one of the accommodation camps in the Bowen Basin, and being exposed to actual medical professionals again- mostly CPA staff on other contracts, but their professionalism and enthusiasm rekindled my passion for the medical fields, so after a few deep conversations with my amazingly supportive wife, we worked out how to make full time study viable, and I completed my Bachelor of Paramedic Practice at the end of 2016.
I took a year to consolidate my studies and pick up the accessory courses, such as Construction White cards, Standard 11 etc. to transition to a dedicated industrial paramedic role, which I really enjoy.
Where are you working now?
I’m currently working at Moorvale mine, which is one of Peabody’s open cut coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. While we work a 12 hour day shift 7/7 roster, we are still on call for emergencies at night. The Terowie camp that we’re accommodated at is nearby and we can usually go from “asleep” to “on site” in about 12 minutes.
What other CPA Group sites have you worked?
As well as Moorvale, I’ve worked at Coppabella Mine, which is also an open cut coal mine, and North Goonyella, which is an underground coal mine.
What are your primary responsibilities?
Our primary role is incident response at the site itself, but we’re also responsible for the health and wellbeing of the off duty workers at the accommodation camps.
We also provide training, administrative and logistic support to the site emergency response and rescue teams, and a number of administrative tasks, such as drug & alcohol testing, lifestyle counselling, health education, compiling health intelligence and liaising with Peabody’s health and safety team managers.
What do you find most challenging or fulfilling in your role?
When I first took the role, my biggest challenge was understanding and integrating into the culture of the mining industry. It’s very different to the state service paramedics, who go to an incident, spend 30-40 minutes with an injury, then offload it to a hospital.
Whereas, out here, we’re part of the community, we eat together, work together, train together, and have built a depth of trust and a place in the community.
Everyone knows we “have their backs” in anything from a splinter or blister, a vehicle rollover, and even mental health issues.
Knowing we have that trust and respect among the community is quite fulfilling.
It is almost like having two lives, your work life and home life, like having two families. I’ve worked at other locations where you’re reminded constantly that you’re merely another contractor, but thankfully, the Peabody culture is really inclusive towards us, which relieves what can be a difficult lifestyle.
And what do you do in your spare time?
I love nice food, and it’s great to add your own produce to the food you create. One of the nicer features of the house my wife and I bought about 18 months ago, was a lot of really nice gardens with veggie patches, fruit trees & herbs everywhere.
So a few months ago, I started researching bees – more bees means more flowers will be pollinated, meaning more fruit and vegies, so a few months ago, I built a beehive, and got some bees & I suppose now I’m also a beekeeper.
Granted they don’t need much attention but watching them is both exciting yet calming.
(We couldn’t resist, we asked Oren to provide a photo of the bees!!!)
What do you think your manager would say about you?
I haven’t really thought about that, I try to be competent, reliable and professional, so I’d hope my manager thought the same. I haven’t been called into the office yet, so I think I’m doing ok.
We also asked Oren’s manager, Kevin Hamilton for a few words:
Oren was one of the staff that transitioned from Peabody’s previous provider, he instantly embraced the CPAG ethos of working hard to ensure our clients receive a top-class service.
Always keen to improve, he is currently upgrading his TAE to ensure the company meets its contractual obligations with training on site.
The Safety Supervisor on site speaks very highly of Oren, which in turn sheds a good light on CPAG as his employer.