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Combating Heat Stress in Underground Mines

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Heat stress has long been a cause for concern throughout the underground mining industry.
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Climate Control Shelter to Combat Heat Stress
Climate Control Shelter to Combat Heat Stress in Underground Mines

Combating Heat Stress in Underground Mines has long been a cause for concern throughout the industry. Experienced as a result of the relatively narrow range of climatic conditions within which the unprotected human body can operate efficiently. It occurs when heat is absorbed into the body faster than it can be lost. Several factors may contribute to heat stress, including temperature, humidity, the type and duration of the work activity, and the physical condition of the individual.

To date, factors for combating heat stress include ensuring that workers are:

  • Appropriately clothed
  • Acclimatized to high heat environments
  • Adequately hydrated
  • Sufficiently rested

In the mine environment, this could mean leaving the work area and travelling extended distances to an underground break room. Generally, for conditions in which the wet bulb temperature exceeds 90°F (32°C), miners are legally required to have a ten-minute break every two hours. Depending on the size of the mine, this can contribute to several hours of lost time each shift.

In order to combat the effects of heat stress and minimize costs associated with it, MineARC Engineers have devised a cost-effective solution, which is the Climate Control Shelter (CCS).

Drawing on our experience in fire-resistant chamber technology, the CCS utilizes 1″ glass wool rigid board clad between the refuge’s steel structure. The CCS is a portable, thermally insulated structure, limiting the transfer of heat between the internal chamber and the external environment. This allows occupants to set the split system air conditioner to any desired running temperature (including heating for cold climates), and for the internal temperature to equalize quickly. Also included are hand wash facilities, cushioned seating, communication entry ports, external fire extinguisher, internal and external lighting, and a portal window.


Interested in finding out more? Click on one of these related articles.

Affect of Heat on a Refuge Chamber “What is the impact of heat loads to a refuge chamber and why does it need to be considered? Numerous heat sources affect the internal temperature of a refuge chamber.” Continue reading.

Fire Protection for Refuge Chambers “What are the fundamental passive fire protection solutions offered for refuge chambers? Fire dangers exist in underground mining and tunnelling operations.” Continue reading.

The Necessity of Cooling Within A Refuge Chamber “Heat can quickly accumulate inside a refuge chamber, increasing with each additional person. This is a problem often underestimated; with cooling systems perceived more as a luxury than an essential part of life-sustaining safe refuge technology.” Continue reading.

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