Report: Give Miners Better Escape Training, Tools

By VICKI SMITH | March 18, 2013

A new report by the National Research Council says the federal government should re-examine how much breathable air supplies to require in the nation’s coal mines and dedicate research dollars to building better devices.

It’s one of seven wide-ranging recommendations for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the National Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The report released Thursday also says the agencies should accelerate efforts to develop other technologies that could help miners save themselves by escaping. Those include better communication systems, real-time gas monitors and fail-safe tracking devices.

The report also suggests both agencies review their processes for approving new technology to ensure they’re not deterring innovation.

The report doesn’t propose new regulations. It emphasizes self-escape training and tools for the nation’s 50,000 underground miners.

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