map depicting the layout of the Sago Mine in West Virginia

NIOSH Will Measure Atmospheres of Sealed Areas

NIOSH asked coal mining companies yesterday to provide a list of mine sites where the agency can conduct studies on the composition of atmospheres within sealed areas. This research will test whether potentially explosive methane mixtures are present in those areas, how gas concentration changes over time and is affected by barometric pressure changes, and whether methane layering exists. The composition of atmospheres behind seals inside coal mines became a focal point after the Jan. 2, 2006, Sago Mine explosion in West Virginia in which 12 miners died.

MSHA's single source page on Sago is available here, and its conclusion that lightning triggered the Sago blast is here. Sandia National Laboratories' April 2007 report ("Measurement and Modeling of Transfer Functions for Lightning Coupling into the Sago Mine") on its test of the hypothesis that a lighting stroke caused the methane blast is available here.

Many resources about Sago and sealed areas are available at www.msha.gov. The agency last Friday launched a new Web server and a more powerful search tool for users.

NIOSH wants to sequentially test three or four underground coal mines of at least one square mile that produce medium to high volumes of methane. To be accepted, a mine site must be installing 120 psi seals that meet the current design standard. NIOSH asked companies to send letters of interest within 90 days to R.G. Gurtunca, Ph.D., NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236 (phone 412-386-6601, e-mail [email protected]). Either longwall or room-and-pillar mines are acceptable, and a soon-to-be-abandoned coal mine is an option, it said.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2020

    November December 2020

    Featuring:

    • COLD STRESS
      Managing Cold Stress
    • TRAINING: FALL PROTECTION
      Providing Training for Fall Protection
    • PPE: HEARING PROTECTION
      Eight Tips for Hearing Testing Day
    • FACILITY SECURITY
      Incorporating COVID-19 Protections into Safety Programs
    View This Issue