The physiological cost of an escape maneuver from an underground mine was investigated. Six miners, aged 27 to 63 years, followed a planned escape route from an underground coal mine in western Pennsylvania; the estimated escape time was 1 hour, and the terrain varied throughout the course. Pulmonary ventilation (VE), oxygen uptake (VO2), and heart rate (HR) were monitored and compared to measurements taken during a treadmill exercise test. Speed of travel varied with the terrain, but was similar for all areas in which the same form of locomotion was used. The mean values were 49 liters per minute for VE, 1.63 liters per minute for VO2, and 143 beats per minute for HR. The peak values were 52 liters per minute, 1.92 liters per minute, and 161 beats per minutes for VE, VO2, and HR, respectively. The average effort was performed at 64 percent, with the peak effort at 70 percent of the aerobic capacity determined during the treadmill test. The authors suggest that peak VO2 and HR values did not reach maximal laboratory values because of the limits of muscle involvement due to mode of locomotion, and fatigue because of the restricted locomotion. They recommend that miners be encouraged to train for better physical fitness to improve their capacity for escape from underground mines.
Mining-industry; Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Coal-workers; Underground-mining; Pulmonary-function-tests; Lung-function; Breathing-atmospheres; Oxygen-uptake; Physiological-function; Physical-stress; Underground-miners; Rescue-measures; Coal-mining; Industrial-safety-programs; Pulmonary-function-tests; Simulation-methods; Heart-rate; Fatigue