Underground » Health and Safety
There are significant concerns in the Australian underground coal mine industry regarding the safe changeover of SCSR's. The Queensland underground level one emergency exercises have revealed an unsatisfactory failure rate in the SCSR changeover. In an adverse atmosphere, it could mean multiple casualties.
There were concerns in the industry that additional training would not be sufficient and that, in an emergency, extra controls should be in place to minimise the risks associated with the changeover. In this study, the key concerns and main factors for a safe SCSR changeover are identified. The available and near future techniques for safe changeover are reviewed. The refuge chambers or specially designed changeover stations and the next generation of SCSR's are such extra controls which are able to provide additional protection during the changeover. Further study disclosed the disadvantages of some of these controls, such as potential confusion in an emergency, maintenance and service requirements and so on.
To provide a safe, easy and reliable SCSR replacing environment, the prototype of the personal changeover enclosure has been designed, modeled and tested. The conceptual design has been proven valid for a safe changeover. The apparatus should be ergonomically improved to be more user-friendly.
The need for equipment to enable workers to be trained has been expressed by many. One of the main reasons for this is that when workers are subjected to the sensations caused by a self-contained self rescuer for the first time they might erroneously believe that the equipment is not functioning correctly and discard it. By making them used to the physiological burden of a self rescuer the occurrence of such incidences would be reduced.
This project set out to investigate the various simulators that are available to train workers as well as to investigate the design of a simulator that would allow multiple uses over longer periods.
The investigation found that there are various short duration simulators that could be of benefit to train workers as well as some longer duration units that have and are still being used. The design of a locally made simulator has been proposed.
The project has come to the conclusion that there are sufficient simulators available to satisfy any demand from the mining industry for such training equipment.
An e-newsletter has also been published for this project, highlighting its significance for the industry.