Underground Mine Air and Strata Temperature Change Due to the Use of Refuge Alternatives

  • L. YanEmail author
  • D. S. Yantek
  • M. A. Reyes


Heat and humidity buildup withn refuge alternatives (RAs) may expose occupants to physiological hazards such as heat stress. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations require RAs in underground coal mines to provide a life-sustaining environment for miners trapped underground when escape is impossible. RAs are required to sustain life for 96 h while maintaining an apparent temperature (AT) below 95 °F (35 °C). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tested a 10-person tent-type RA, a 23-person tent-type RA, and a 6-person metal-type RA in its underground coal mine facilities to investigate the thermal environment over a 96-h period. The test results showed that mine air and mine strata temperatures surrounding an RA occupied by simulated miners (SMs) increased over the 96-h test period. The test results suggest that RA manufacturers should consider this increase in temperatures when calculating and evaluating RA components during surface and laboratory tests. The findings can equip stakeholders with additional considerations for calculating the interior heat and humidity temperature profiles for occupied RAs not tested in situ.


Refuge alternative Underground mine Heat stress 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Mention of a company name or product does not constitute an endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of NIOSH.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CDC NIOSHPittsburghUSA

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