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Mining Publication: Evaluating the Use of Stretchers in Two Mobile Refuge Alternatives

Original creation date: July 2016

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In a mine emergency where refuge is necessary, miners may sustain injuries that will render them unable to walk or crawl. In this situation, a miner may have to rely on others for transportation into the mobile refuge alternative (RA) while on a stretcher. Since requirements for mine first-aid stations were developed before RAs, stretchers should be evaluated to determine whether they are usable in an RA and within the physical capabilities of miners in a refuge. The size of the RA airlock is a concern, as it has not been determined if current airlocks will accommodate a miner on a stretcher. This study evaluated the time required to move three types of stretchers into two commercially available RAs. The splint stretcher had the longest average time to move into each RA as compared to the backboard and soft stretcher. This increase was mostly due to the increased time requirements for getting the splint stretcher into the airlock. For all stretchers, it took approximately two to three times longer to enter the inflatable tent-type RA compared to the rigid steel RA. Mining companies should consider how well their current first-aid implements work with their RAs and manufacturers of inflatable RAs should maximize the size of the outer doors leading into the airlock to allow an easier entry for stretchers.

Authors: J Heberger, JP Pollard

Peer Reviewed Journal Article - July 2016

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20049104

J Saf Health Environ Res 2016 Jul; 12(2):298-306