Federal mining regulators say they expect to ask manufacturers to propose two new types of emergency air packs for underground coal miners shortly.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health spokesman John Kovac says the agency wants proposals for hybrid air packs that combine the oxygen generating devices used today with filter devices that do not generate oxygen.
Kovac spoke during an emergency air pack meeting today at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beaver. Kovac also says NIOSH plans to ask manufacturers to propose air packs that allow miners to plug in replacement oxygen and carbon dioxide scrubbing chemicals. Today, miners must switch devices if one expires during an escape.
Kovac says proposals will come shortly depending on congressional funding. NIOSH plans to seek public comment on new standards to certify air packs at hearings planned in September and October in Washington D-C and Denver.