This is a training course for all mine personnel involved in underground coal mining.
The course is an overview of the major safety issues pertaining to flame cutting and welding in coal mines. It is meant to introduce hazards rather than provide in-depth safety training on the many hazards present on a mine site. Because every operation is different, you may not encounter all of the situations presented. There may be others that are specific to your mine that are not included here. If so, you should be made aware of these through training and/or working with an experienced mentor. Your mine is required to provide the training and equipment necessary to keep you as safe as possible while working on the property. It is up to you to learn this information, and to use it.
The video clips used in this training are taken from the NIOSH video "Tame the Flame: Flame Cutting and Welding Safety for Underground Coal Miners". Coal mines can be dangerous places. They are developed in solid fuel and are constantly leaking methane, commonly known as natural gas. Miners can work safely in these environments, but if things go wrong, it can be disastrous. The explosion that occurred at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, USA, on April 5th, 2010, killed 29 miners. While MSHA (the US Mine Safety and Health Administration) had not yet determined exactly what happed at Upper Big Branch at the time this course was written, it is clear to all that it was a gas explosion. Other explosions in mines in China and elsewhere in the U.S. have claimed thousands of lives. While this training course focuses on coal mines, other types of mines can be considered gassy. If you are working in any of these mines, you must know how to do it safely. A simple mistake could cause the entire mine to blow up, killing you and everyone in the area. The video clips included in this training show miners at three coal mines in the US, two in Kentucky and one out west in Wyoming. Your host, Ted Teske, visits these mines and learns from experts at all three about the dangers associated with using flame cutting torches and welders when methane is present. Most importantly, he learns how to protect himself and the others in the mine.
While the mandates of the mining regulatory agencies are law in the US, they are also comprehensive enough to be considered best practice for mining in countries throughout the world.
The author is a Certified Mine Safety Professional as well as an MSHA Certified Instructor for both surface and underground. This course material was developed originally for the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and is compliant with MSHA regulations.
This course is presented as four learning sessions, using video, text and image content, and an interactive review session of randomly-selected multiple-choice questions. Course duration is equivalent to approximately 4 hours of learning content.