Standards Australia has published a new Standard for detecting and monitoring gas in coal mines, which it says is designed to prevent Pike River-type disasters.
AS/NZS 2290.3:2018, Electrical equipment for coal mines – Introduction, inspection and maintenance, Part 3: Gas detecting and monitoring equipment, features 'world-leading practices', including a requirement for routinely measuring the response time of installed gas detection systems.
In November 2010, a methane explosion ripped through the remote Pike River Mine on New Zealand's south island, killing 29 men who's bodies have never been recovered (see related article).
Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said the primary emphasis of the new standard was the safety of coal miners, and that the Pike River Mine disaster of 2010 was one of the many devastating examples why continued standards development was so important.
“Among the changes in this edition of the standard, is a new requirement for routinely measuring the response time of installed gas detection systems. This requirement is what makes this standard a world-leading safety document.”
“The guidance provided by this standard is aimed at the devices which save lives in coal mines. Safety improvements of this nature are the reason Standards Australia takes great pride in working with industry, government, trade unions, and the general public to deliver this type of project.”
Chair of the Technical Committee of Standards Australia, Dr Ian Webster, said gas hazards were an inherit risk in coal mines, and that the new standard made monitoring gas a clear priority.
“Methane is a naturally present hazard in coal mines and so is understandably a clear focus for safety systems in a mine. The committee specifically made accurate, reliable and timely measurement of methane gas a clear objective in progressing this standard.”
“The introduction of the telemetry test is another innovation in this standard – this ensures that gas concentrations are not only measured, but that subsequent mitigating actions are reliably executed.”