Simulator to improve underground safety

Queensland researchers are working on a special simulator to help coal miners better adjust to the breathing apparatus they wear in the event of an underground explosion.

Queensland researchers are working on a special simulator to help coal miners better adjust to the breathing apparatus they wear in the event of an underground explosion.

Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the prototype would give miners “a real feel” for what it’s like to wear a self-rescuer.

A self-rescuer is a self-contained, closed-circuit mouthpiece with a breathing apparatus.

“They’ll be able to experience the heat, humidity and claustrophobia that some miners feel when they use their self-rescuer,” Minister Wilson said.

The State Government’s own Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station conducts underground emergency training exercises every year for miners.

“And what’s come out of this training is that some miners aren’t completely comfortable wearing self-rescuers,” the Minister said.

“But they’re life savers. They’re worn by underground miners if they are ever exposed to smoke, toxic gases or a lack of oxygen.

“The simulator will help mine workers and any visitors to a mine know what it feels like to use a self-rescuer.

“If they become more familiar with the apparatus in a controlled environment, they’ll be better placed to use them in a real life emergency,” he said.

“Mine workers will be able to wear the simulator for extended periods, such as the time taken for a full mine evacuation,” he said.

The Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) is funding the research project.

Roger Wischusen

ACARP

07 3229 7661

roger@acarp.com.au

www.acarp.com.au

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