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Development of a system that can quantify the level of heat strain experienced by underground mine workers in real-time
AuthorParrish, Jacob M.
AdvisorKocsis, Karoly C.
Mining and Metallurgical Engineering
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With global mineral demand increasing, mine operators are having to adapt by adding more mechanized equipment and excavating deeper underground. Mine workers are also being challenged to enhance their production output. This combination of ever-increasing depth, more heavily mechanized equipment and pressure to escalate production is creating environments of high thermal stress. If mine workers are expected to continue to work in these hot and humid environments new systems need to be developed in order to protect the worker.The focus of this research is on the development of a system that can quantify the level of heat strain experienced by the mine worker in real-time. This heat strain classification method utilizes the climatic parameters and the worker’s individual physiological traits to create this prediction. This method also provides an estimate of the continuous safe work time before heat illness can be expected, and is capable of being personalized for the individual mine worker based on their individual physiological parameters.A sensitivity analysis was performed on the model to determine the effects of each parameter on the calculated continuous work time. The calculated continuous work time is most sensitive to changes in the dry-bulb temperature. The dry-bulb temperature, wet-bulb temperature, and clothing resistivity are exponentially connected to changes in the continuous work time. The continuous safe work time of a worker is least affected by changes in airflow velocity and the metabolic rate. This demonstrates that implementing cooling systems or mitigating heat sources can directly increase the safe work time of underground mine workers.