Improving Heat Stress Management – New Research Based Knowledge

CIM Vancouver 2010
Cheryl Allen, Glen P Kenny,
Abstract In 2004 the Deep Mining Research Consortium (DMRC) initiated a research effort into heat stress issues in Canada’s deep mechanized mines. Included in this work have been an assessment of mining tasks, an analysis of the environmental heat load and determining the best way to measure the environment.

An in situ analyses of miners, which measured and analyzed typical mining tasks at Agnico Eagle’s Laronde mine and a simulated mine rescue at Vale Inco’s Garson Ramp mine, have provided the basis for an extensive range of physiological tests under controlled laboratory conditions. For example, clothing and work/recovery regimens have been studied specifically to improve heat management strategies. These tests, performed in an environmental chamber or “gold standard” human calorimeter, at the University of Ottawa are providing a greater insight into the body’s heat generation and exchange processes with the environment and how that ultimately dictates core temperature and the likely incidence of heat stress.

Another major issue is the actual quantification of the environment in which the miners work. Its measurement can be the basis for deciding that work can be anywhere from unrestricted through to prohibited. Here, an extensive comparison of temperature and humidity instruments has shown that many have limitations, there is an absence of traceable standards for their sensors, and their uneducated use within screening criteria could compromise safety.

This paper will give an overview of DMRC and associated heat stress research, examples of the new understanding it brings, and how that is already being applied by the mining industry.
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