The Central Mining Institute is hosting the representatives of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from the United States. The reason behind the stay of our guests in Poland is the research on coal dust protection efficiency conducted at GIG’s Experimental Mine Barbara, as commissioned by NIOSH. The goal of the visit is for the representatives to familiarise themselves with the method of preparing experimental drifts at KD Barbara for conducting experimental coal dust explosions in various configurations and with various methods for securing the dust zones.
“This is our third joint contract with the Department of Dust Hazard Control for the American Institute,” says Robert Hildebrant, D.Sc. Eng., Director of the Department of Underground Research and Surface Maintenance of KD Barbara. Following the conclusion of earlier studies, the American partner showed great interest in the possibility of our performance of an assessment of the efficiency of securing coal dust using special explosion proof foams manufactured on the basis of stone dust to secure the layers of coal dust in workings. Research is currently being conducted on this solution at NIOSH. Right now, the American laboratory tests must be confirmed under actual conditions, which can be provided by the underground research infrastructure of our mine Barbara. A significant element for preparing the composition, production methods and application of the foam layers on the floor and ribs of the workings is the testing in underground conditions, particularly of the efficiency of the explosion proof protection of the proposed solutions, which is being tested in the experimental workings of GIG's KD Barbara.
The tests are conducted in a 400 m long underground experimental drift with an opening to the surface. The drift is equipped with measuring instruments for registering the explosion parameters significant from the perspective of the conducted tests. The modern testing grounds and the possibility of using different working configurations also enable research in the field of firefighting and civil defence, depending on the requirements and purpose of the research. The KD Barbara testing grounds are one of the most important GIG research sites and the only site in the world where large scale research can be conducted as well as testing in underground drifts under the conditions of actual industrial machines and equipment.
NIOSH is one of the world’s largest organisations concerned with occupational safety, employing 1200 people and representing a wide range of disciplines, including epidemiology, medicine, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, engineering and chemistry. This federal unit is responsible for conducting complex research and eliminating hazards related to occupational safety. NIOSH is a member of the CDC group (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and as a federal agency of the United States is part of the American Department of Health and Human Services.