Mining Safety Standards – The Evolution

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Mining safety standards have evolved dramatically since personnel were first using canaries to signal the presence of dangerous gases underground.
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When a refuge chamber scrubber is on, it does produce noise. This noise comes from the fan inside the unit that draws air in from the shelter and pushes ‘scrubbed’ air out.

Will The Scrubber Be Too Noisy?

The sound can seem amplified because it is in a sealed environment with a robust metal structure. However, materials inside the scrubber chemical, such as MARCISORB cartridges, will absorb some of the sounds from the system.

It should be noted that a scrubber system shouldn’t be active unless the chemicals are placed on the plenum tray, or free poured in older models. You can turn a scrubber unit ON by pressing the emergency operation button on the front panel (this button is a white cross in a green square). Details on operating the scrubber are shown in the photographic operations procedures within the refuge chamber and on the interior walls.   

Ear protection can be worn inside a chamber if it does not interfere with communications to the surface and emergency response teams.

Why Do Chemical Scrubbers Need a Fan?

A refuge chamber scrubber removes contaminants from the air within a sealed shelter by drawing it through materials such as soda-lime to promote a chemical reaction.

A fan forcibly draws in air from the surrounding environment through the scrubber chemical and back into the shelter. This action ensures that carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide within the refuge chamber are removed at a survivable rate. Without a fan, the process would occur at a much slower pace, allowing CO and CO2 levels to increase more rapidly.

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