Wireless Tracking System Plans Rejected
WHSV - Harrisonburg,VA,USAAugust 31, 2007
Individualized plans for installing wireless communication and tracking systems in West Virginia's 254 underground coal mines were rejected Friday.
The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the proposals lacked detailed descriptions of how the systems would be developed and used. Coal operators have until September 21 to revise the plans.
West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton says the mass rejection shows just how new and complex the systems are. But he says the inability to find six men trapped in a Utah mine shows that miners need two-way communications.
The state made the systems mandatory after the Sago Mine accident last year. State safety chief Ron Wooten says Miners' Health, Safety and Training expected problems with the first plans. But he adds that mines should begin installing systems this fall.
In combination with extra emergency air supplies, mandatory rescue chambers and other changes, Wooten says rescuers will have a better chance to find and save miners after an accident.