Facilitating the use of built-in-place refuge alternatives in mines
Advanced Search
Select up to three search categories and corresponding keywords using the fields to the right. Refer to the Help section for more detailed instructions.

Search our Collections & Repository

All these words:

For very narrow results

This exact word or phrase:

When looking for a specific result

Any of these words:

Best used for discovery & interchangable words

None of these words:

Recommended to be used in conjunction with other fields



Publication Date Range:


Document Data


Document Type:






Clear All

Query Builder

Query box

Clear All

For additional assistance using the Custom Query please check out our Help Page


Facilitating the use of built-in-place refuge alternatives in mines

Filetype[PDF-27.35 MB]

Select the Download button to view the document
This document is over 5mb in size and cannot be previewed
  • English

  • Details:

    • Journal Article:
      Report of investigations (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health);DHHS publication ; no. (NIOSH);
    • Description:
      Three major coal mining disasters occurred in 2006, involving either fires or explosions, killing 19 miners. In all of these tragedies, miners survived the initial disaster but were unable either to escape or successfully isolate themselves from the poisonous gases present in the mine environment resulting from the disaster. In response, Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act) of 2006 (Public Law 109-236). Among its mandates, the MINER Act called for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) to "provide for the conduct of research, including field tests, concerning the utility, practicality, survivability, and cost of various refuge alternatives in an underground coal mine environment, including commercially-available portable refuge chambers." The primary function of a refuge alternative (RA) is to provide safe refuge for miners unable to escape their work area immediately after a disaster due to toxic gases or a blocked escapeway. To be effective, the RA must survive the initiation of the disaster, whether it is an explosion or fire. Furthermore, it would additionally be beneficial if it would protect the miners inside the RA from the blast impacts of a secondary explosion. In response to the MINER Act mandate, NIOSH OMSHR conducted research on refuge alternatives and provided its findings in the form of a report to Congress [NIOSH 2007]. In sum, this report found that refuge alternatives were practical for use in most underground coal mines to facilitate escape and to serve as a refuge of last resort, provided that mine operators develop comprehensive escape and rescue plans incorporating refuge alternatives and training on their use. These findings applied to both portable RAs and built-in-place (BIP) RAs, with the BIP RAs emerging as being able to provide a superior environment. They offer the potential to provide miners with an improved psychological and physiological environment, which can be greatly advantageous to their health and safety in the stress of an emergency, and they can be provided with fresh air via a borehole to the surface or a protected compressed air line. Despite these advantages, current BIP RA designs cannot be moved frequently from a practical standpoint - with movement of the RA location required to keep up with dynamic mining production - and as such it would generally be impractical to keep them within 1,000 feet of the nearest working face, as prescribed in 30 CFR11 75.1506(c). Notwithstanding, OMSHR's 2007 report to Congress on refuge alternatives concluded that, as compared to portable RAs, the strengths of built-in-place refuge alternatives "are so significant that consideration should be given to allowing extended distances, if in-place shelters are used to provide refuge for face workers" [NIOSH 2007]. Currently, there are approximately 30 BIP RAs in U.S. underground coal mines; however, all of these are located outby the face area and none are designed to be advanced with the working face. The usage of BIP RAs that can be advanced with the working face will only be practical if three issues can be addressed: (1) locating BIP RAs further from the face; (2) providing a consistent process for the design and approval of RA stoppings; (3) delivering a reliable supply of clean, breathable air to a BIP RA. In this Report of Investigations, these three issues are explored in detail.

      NIOSHTOC No 20045972

    • Document Type:
    • Main Document Checksum:
    • File Type:

    Supporting Files

    • No Additional Files

    More +

    You May Also Like

    Checkout today's featured content at stacks.cdc.gov