Mining Contract: New Vest Style Escape SCSR Through SCSR Efficiency Improvement Study

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Contract # 12FED1213244
Start Date 6/1/2012
End Date 4/30/2014
Research Concept

This research will investigate efficiency improvements for pure oxygen breathing apparatuses used by miners in emergencies, namely self-contained self-rescuers, and develop an improved ergonomic design.

Topic Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is complete. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to

Current self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) operate inefficiently by providing a constant flow rate of oxygen that is not based on the user's breathing pattern. Because of their design, current SCSRs also tire users by requiring “respiratory pulling” on the demand valve when users are breathing more heavily. The objective of this research was to develop a vest style mine escape SCSR by studying and adapting efficiency enhancements that can be applied to existing SCSRs.

Under this contract, the Navy Experimental Diving Unit improved the efficiency of the current SCSR oxygen dosing system by incorporating electronic and/or mechanical ventilation-linked, dosing valve control designs into a hybrid prototype using existing mining SCSRs as a test platform. Based on this research, a separate contract was awarded to a different contractor to develop a new one-hour duration vest style SCSR prototype.

This contract was funded as part of an interagency agreement program, which provides a formal means for federal government agencies to share and further technology that could apply to and benefit mine safety and health. Through this program, the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) identifies other government agencies with the knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to a health and safety gap and works collaboratively with these agencies to identify the type of technology solution desired and to determine specifications for this technology.

Following a catastrophic event, mine workers and rescue teams may be exposed to harmful gases in the mine atmosphere. Breathing air supplies (BAS) technologies are used to isolate the lungs from this atmosphere or provide refuge alternatives where the atmosphere is controlled. Breathing air supplies for underground mining refer to a range of devices and systems that offer respiratory protection to miners in the event of an emergency. Some examples of BAS are SCSRs, closed-circuit oxygen breathing apparatus (CCBAs), and gas supplies for refuge alternatives. Advanced BAS technology could improve a mine worker’s chances of surviving a mine disaster.

Page last reviewed: July 18, 2016
Page last updated: May 23, 2016