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From driving police cars to driving big trucks, safety remains the key

10 years after leaving the Queensland Police Jacinta Buchbach, BMC Asset Strategy Principal and Ace Sambo, truck operator, were recently reunited at our Poitrel mine near Moranbah in Central Queensland. In a former life Jacinta was a Senior Sergeant based in Mackay with the Queensland Police and Ace was an Indigenous Liason Officer also based in Mackay.

Jacinta, who is based in Brisbane and new to coal, was on-site at Poitrel to get a hands-on understanding of how mine site operates. When it came time to jump in the cab of a haul truck, she was thrilled to see her former colleague was the operator.

Ace joined BHP as part of the Poitrel Indigenous traineeship programme that engaged with the Indigenous community to create opportunities for Indigenous people from communities in which we operate. According to Poitrel's Mine Manager, Jayson Smeeton, "the programme has lifted BMC Poitrel’s indigenous workforce to 11.6 per cent from 1.8 per cent in 18 months."

"‘It was a nostalgic experience because the last time I drove with Ace it was in a marked police car patrolling the streets of Mackay and keeping our community safe," said Jacinta.

"Whilst there are many differences in the way of driving a police vehicle as opposed to a massive haul truck - the obvious being a haul truck is huge, slower and carrying many tonnes of coal – the strict adherence to operational procedures and driver responsibility are similar in terms of respecting the vehicle’s unique capabilities; possessing ‘driver wisdom’ and resilience in response to changed conditions; and sometimes driving under adverse conditions to get the job done whilst keep yourself and others safe. In terms of safety, our former law enforcement roles weren’t that different to mining - we wanted to go home safely to our family at the end of a long and sometimes challenging shift".