NIOSH is requesting public comment on three draft documents related to research needs for prevention of death and injury in underground mining.

The first,Explosion Pressure Design Criteria for New Seals in U.S. Mines, discusses the increased design standard required by the 2006 MINER Act, for which the historical explosion pressure rating of 140 kPa (20 psi) is no longer sufficient. The act requires MSHA to increase this design standard by the end of 2007. Comments on the draft will be accepted until March 12.

The second draft for comment,Long-Term Field Evaluation Program (LTFE) Concept, which applies to self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs) for miners, was initiated more than 20 years ago by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The objective for the LTFE program is to obtain data to determine the expected performance characteristics of SCSRs used in the mining industry. Comments will be accepted until April 5.

The third,SCSR Vision – Realizing a New Generation of Mine Escape Respirators, also discusses SCSRs, but focuses instead on ideas for improving design characteristics of SCSRs, as well as the training and use of such devices. Comments on the draft document will be accepted until April 5.