Release July 22, 2013
ATLANTA - Strata Worldwide became a pioneer in mine safety when, in late 2007, it were the first company to place a mine refuge chamber into a US coal mining operation. That initial unit was a portable, inflatable Fresh Air Bay designed to rapidly inflate in an emergency and provide an airtight shelter and 96 hours of breathable air to miners trapped underground.
Five years later, in September 2012, Strata became the first chamber manufacturer to be awarded MSHA approval for our refuge chamber components; the first being for a Breathing Air component and another this past March for a Harmful Gas Removal component. Both these approvals awarded were for components on the Strata Fresh Air Bay Model MC3635. Since then, Strata has received MSHA approval on the Breathable Air Component for all Strata inflatable chamber models currently deployed. Additional approvals are pending.
According to Part 7 of MSHA’s Final Rule 30 CFR, chamber manufacturers or a third party must perform specified tests on refuge alternatives and components to demonstrate that each meets the technical requirements and test criteria. Approval under Part 7 assures operators and miners that the refuge alternative can be used safely and effectively in underground mines and that components can be used safely together.
To perform these tests Strata used a scaled, replica mine entry located at its manufacturing facility in Maryland. This testing facility was built in September 2010 by Strata Mine Services using 3D panels and gunite, and is designed to simulate varying mining conditions with the ability to control wall, floor and ceiling temperature as well as ambient air temperatures.
With these component approvals now in place, Strata is currently refitting its inflatable chambers to CFR 30 Part 7 standards. Strata also plans to refit Modern Mine Safety Supply’s chambers to bring all units to compliance by the December 31, 2013 deadline.
“We are very happy to be awarded these approvals and very proud to be the first chamber manufacturer to receive approval on both the Breathable Air and Harmful Gas Removal components,” states David Maust, VP and GM of Strata’s Refuge Alternative Division. “Applications for approval on the third component, the gas monitoring system, have been submitted by the device manufacturers and Strata is well on its way to meeting the 2013 deadline for chamber refits.”
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