Mining Publication: Expectations Training for Miners using Self-Contained Self-Rescuers in Escape from Underground Coal Mines
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health researchers conducted a study to investigate the human response issues related to wearing a self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR). The goal was to develop training to educate miners on what they could expect from their units during an escape. Subjects included miners who had experience wearing SCSRs, manufacturers, and researchers. Results identified nine key areas of concern: (1) starting the unit, (2) unit heat, (3) induction of coughing, (4) unit taste, (5) difficulty in breathing while wearing the unit, (6) quality of the air supplied, (7) nose clips, (8) goggles, and (9) the behavior of the breathing bag. In addition, researchers reviewed the literature on human response under duress. This article describes the expectations training program, which comprises the findings of the SCSR study and what is known about the normal human response in an emergency. The authors present background on SCSRs and the SCSR switchover procedure mandated in the recent federal Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, which provided the impetus for the expectations training.