November 2008 – AggBeat
For more details on the research report, go to www.strategyr.com/Building_Materials_Industry_Market_Report.asp.
MSHA reviewing communications/tracking systems
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is continuing to review emergency communications and tracking systems with promising technologies for application in underground mines. According to a report on the administration’s Web site, resources have gradually shifted from exploring the availability of new technologies to focusing on evaluation and testing activities for MSHA approval.
The report said MSHA’s Technical Support Directorate is reviewing products and proposals from manufacturers and distributors of emergency communication and tracking systems and is assisting interested manufacturers in obtaining approval. It is also working with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Communication and Tracking Partnership to assist interested parties in arranging field tests of the systems.
One such field test, performed by Axcess International, Inc. in cooperation with Foundation Telecommunications Inc. and Architron Systems Inc., provided a live demonstration of Axcess Micro-Wireless IDs. The sensor was attached to mine personnel who were then tracked as they moved throughout the mine’s tunnel. The system provided real-time location information for miner tags following a simulated mine cave-in.
According to the report, as of Oct. 1, 2008, MSHA was processing 36 approval applications for communications and tracking technology. Since the beginning of 2006, it has issued 61 new or revised approvals for communications and tracking products. The administration said significant approvals issued in September include an L3 Technologies and Innovative Wireless Technologies Wireless Mesh Communications System, a Subterracom Wireless Text Messaging and Tracking Device, and an Active Controls Technology Tracking Tag.
The report also said that MSHA has observed 50 tests or demonstrations of 29 different communications and/or tracking systems at various mine sites; has met with representatives from 64 communications and tracking system companies; and has had discussions with various vendors regarding 176 different proposals for the development of communications/tracking systems. The administration is currently working with NIOSH to develop industry guidance for MINER Act-compliant communications and tracking systems, which will be published by the end of 2008.
A complete list of MSHA-approved communications and tracking products, as well as a description of MSHA-approved communications and tracking technologies, can be found at www.msha.gov/techsupp/commoandtracking.asp.
Mine rescue team equipment rule
On Nov. 14, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) final rule amending its existing standard for mine rescue team equipment at mine rescue stations serving underground mines becomes effective, according to a report in the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Administration’s eDigest & Washington Watch newsletter.
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