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Lessons Learned from Refuge Alternative Research by NIOSH


Occupancy derating of refuge alternatives in underground coal mines

In 2006, three tragedies occurred that deeply affected the mining community. After an explosion the day after New Year’s at the Sago mine in West Virginia, 12 trapped miners installed a barricade to try to preserve a breathable environment, but 11 ultimately succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, and only one survived. A few weeks later at the Aracoma Alma No. 1 mine less than 200 miles away in the same state, a belt fire broke out, and two of the 29 miners in the mine died while trying to escape. In a third tragedy a few months later at the Darby No. 1 mine in Kentucky, an explosion occurred, with two miners killed by the initial explosion and three others killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to escape.
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