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Technology News 543 - reverse implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for personnel tracking in underground mines.

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-209, (TN 543), 2011 Sep; :1-2
Objective: To develop a method for tracking underground mine workers that provides: (1) potential improvements in accuracy when compared to conventional, zone-based radio frequency identification (RFID) methods, (2) the ability to interface to a variety of mine communications infrastructures, (3) a higher degree of survivability after a mine disaster, and (4) ease of installation and maintenance. Summary: Possible benefits of the reverse RFID approach include: (1) higher tracking accuracies that can average under 50 ft with tags at every other crosscut, (2) the flexibility to use a mine's existing communications infrastructure, (3) potentially higher system survivability because the tracking tags mounted in the mine are self-contained and wireless, there are no interconnecting wires to be damaged and, if some tags are lost in a fall of ground or explosion, tracking will resume when other intact tags are encountered, and (4) low-cost tags that can be quickly and easily mounted and recorded at fixed, known locations in the mine, which allows for easy expansion as mining progresses. However, as with many other tracking systems, a disadvantage is that tracking information will not be updated after a mine incident or emergency if the communications infrastructure is not operational.
Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Mine-workers; Mine-rescue; Miners; Coal-miners; Coal-mining; Rescue-measures; Accidents; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Mine-disasters
Health Communications Coordinator, NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0070
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Numbered Publication; Technology News
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-209; TN-543; B10262011
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division