Possible Heat Stress Problems Associated with Underground Mining in the NT, with Particular Reference to Woodcutters Mine

Wetzeil N,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
High ambient temperatures combined with high surface humidity in the north of Australia and, in particular, the northern areas of the Northern Territory can make underground workplaces relatively inhospitable at certain times of the year. . Woodcutters' silver/lead/zinc mine, situated some 80 km south of Darwin, would be the most northerly underground operation of any significance in Australia. As such, during the build up to the wet season, it has a particular problem of ventilating a deep underground mine with already high dry and wet bulb temperatures at the surface. The Mine Management Act and Regulations mention only that workplaces shall be 'in a fit state for a person to work in or occupy'. Woodcutters therefore set in progress a Heat Stress Program to endeavour to set standards which would be more measurable and justifiable. The aim of the program was to compile a record of ambient atmospheric conditions in the working areas such that areas and/or work activities generating high ambient temperatures and humidities could be identified, quantified and qualified. Once the analysis stage of this program was completed, Woodcutters compiled a set of recommendations for the continued monitoring for, and control of, heat stress conditions to ensure that no underground employee was placed at risk from 'heat stress'. These recommendations are discussed in this paper.
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