the MSHA tutorial includes this image of a refuge chamber

MSHA Posts Refuge Chamber Guidance

A short tutorial added to the agency's Web site explains the requirements for these mine emrgency chambers and links to the rule requiring them.

MSHA has added a brief tutorial about refuge chambers to its homepage. These shelters are part of underground coal mines' emergency response plan.

The guidance lists the four basic aspects of a chamber:

(1) Structural. The protective structure that houses the internal atmosphere.

(2) Breathable air. Uncontaminated air from oxygen or compressed air cylinders, compressed air lines, or boreholes with fans or compressors. There are specified flow rates for oxygen/air that must be provided to ensure adequate breathable air is available for all miners in the unit for 96 hours.

(3) Air monitoring. Miners must be provided with the ability to measure carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and methane inside and outside the structure from within the structure.

(4) Harmful gas removal. Chemical scrubbing material or purging or other procedures are necessary to remove harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide (from exhaled breath), CO (mine fire gas), or CH4.

"Your knowledge of how to examine, transport, maintain, deploy and use these units can save your life," the guidance states. "It is imperative that you know how to deploy and operate these units should an emergency arise and you are not able to escape from the mine, therefore miners should receive comprehensive training for all aspects of refuge alternatives. There are requirements for quarterly training on detailed procedures and annual expectations training found in 30 CFR 75.1504(b).

MSHA also provided this link to the full text of the rule requiring the chambers.

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