Mining Contract: Refuge Alternatives in Underground Coal Mines
In response to the requirements of the MINER Act, NIOSH initiated this project to develop engineering guidelines associated with the location, construction, and general application of various refuge alternatives. The project goal is to facilitate the mining industry's rapid implementation of viable refuge concepts by addressing technical barriers or knowledge gaps that are hindering the rapid diffusion of refuge technologies throughout the underground coal mining industry.
Contract Status & Impact
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Phase I: Initial results included a review and analysis of mining disasters from 1970 to 2006 with an emphasis on the role refuge stations would have had on the outcomes of the disasters (survival of trapped/escaping mine workers) if they had been available. In addition, refuge station design parameters were developed.
Phase II: A subset of mining disasters where refuge stations may have had a significant benefit were analyzed. The atmospheric management requirements for refuge stations were analyzed and detailed. Methane explosion blast pressure-time curves were used to provide specifications for blast resistance refuge stations. A cost comparison of alternative refuge stations was provided and two design concepts for bulkhead-based refuge stations were developed. Tools or matrices were developed for:
- selecting a refuge station type, location, and size,
- life support requirements,
- general supplies and infrastructure, and
- use of a Universal Refuge Bulkhead.
Phase III: A guidance document for the selection, installation, and provisioning of refuge stations was developed. The design and construction of a universal fixed bulkhead refuge station was also documented.
- Emergency Escape and Refuge Alternatives
- Fire Response Preparedness for Underground Mines
- Investigation of Enhanced Refuge Alternatives
- Mine Rescue Training Facility Inventory - Compendium of Ideas to Improve US Coal Mine Rescue Training
- NIOSH Docket Number 125: Refuge Alternative Research
- Recommendations for Refuge Chamber Operations Training
- Refuge Chamber Deployment and Occupancy Status During Mine Emergency Situations
- Research Report on Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines
- Underground Coal Mining Disasters and Fatalities: United States, 1900-2006
- Update on Refuge Alternatives: Research, Recommendations, and Underground Deployment
- Page last reviewed: 7/18/2016
- Page last updated: 9/17/2012
- Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Mining Program