Mining rescue packs: Protecting your underground workers

7 November 2019 (Last Updated November 7th, 2019 10:09)

Mining rescue packs are a type of personal safety equipment for underground workers to protect them in case of an emergency incident such as an explosion, mine collapse or gas leak.

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Mining rescue packs: Protecting your underground workers
Forensic structural engineer Dr Sean Brady reviews a total of 47 deaths in Queensland’s mines and quarries from 2000 to 2019. It follows the deaths of eight mine and quarry workers in Queensland over the past two years. Photo by Mark Agnor on Shutterstock.

Mining rescue packs are a type of personal safety equipment for underground workers to protect them in case of an emergency incident such as an explosion, mine collapse or gas leak.

Self-contained self-rescuers (SCSR), for example, are used by workers in mining tunnelling operations. They provide users with oxygen when it becomes insufficient in the atmosphere or the breathing environment is hazardous.

There are two forms of rescue packs; respirators, which oxidise carbon monoxide, and oxygen sources, which comprise a chemical oxygen generator or a compressed oxygen cylinder.

Also known as emergency escape breathing devices (EEBD), mining rescue packs are essential to the safety of workers.

Mining hazards and safety advancements

Mining safety has advanced significantly in recent years, with developments in solutions such as early gas detections, air filters and refuge chambers; however rescue packs are still a necessary part of safety culture.

The primary cause of the release of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide in underground tunnelling and mining operations, are explosions. Following such an incident, it is imperative that workers have a safe oxygen source that can last for the duration that they are trapped underground with unsafe or insufficient air.

Carroll Technologies provides safety solutions to the mining industry worldwide, including a range of rescue pack equipment. The W65 Self-Rescuer Respirator by MSA is a hands-free device that can provide the user with oxygen for up to four hours. It is simple to equip and contained in a hermetically sealed stainless steel case, which offers an in-service life of ten years.

Another certified manufacturer in Carroll Technologies’ distribution network is Ocenco, which specialises in reliable respiratory protection for the mining and tunnelling industry, as well as for military, industrial and offshore applications.

Ocenco respiratory protection

Ocenco provides a range of rescue packs for the mining industry, namely the M-20 SCR, the M-20.3 CCER MINING, the EBA 6.5 SCR and the EBA-75 CCER.

The M-20 SCR is a belt-wearable SCSR designed for mining and tunnelling operations. It is field proven and simple to use, and can be equipped in less than ten seconds to ensure that the user does not go without safe oxygen.

Ocenco’s M-20.3 closed-circuit escape respirator (CCER) is a compressed oxygen delivery system that automatically activates when removed from its case, which is clear to enable visual assessment of operational readiness. Users can inhale from the device immediately after it is equipped, providing up to 100 litres of oxygen flow during high work rates.

The self-contained EBA 6.5 is a closed circuit breathing system that uses compressed oxygen instead of generating oxygen from chemicals. This piece of apparatus also has a clear case for visual inspection and a demand regulator for immediate inhalation. The oxygen valve can be manually adjusted and provides the user with up to eight hours of respiratory protection.

The EBA-75 is a CCER. It also comprises a clear case, immediate inhalation properties and 100 litres of oxygen flow. It offers a user-at-rest procedure than provides trapped miners with respiratory protection for up to 6.5 hours.

Carroll Technologies distributes Ocenco products across North America, including 800 mining and tunnelling sites across the continent.

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