Mine escape exposes faulty CABA units

AN EXAMINATION by New South Wales safety regulators of two compressed air breathing apparatus units that had to be abandoned in an underground mine escape has found the units were faulty.

Lauren Barrett

According to a safety alert released by the New South Wales Mines Safety Operations branch, the Sabre brand units were found ineffective during the escape from an underground incident and had to be delivered to the Mine Safety Technology Centre for further investigation.

The examination found there was flexibility in the T-piece of the unit which joins the two compressed air bottles.

“On one unit there was a curve in the T-piece between the two bottles,” the branch said.

While it was possible that a T-piece could be stressed every time the equipment is moved or bumped, the alert said a failed T-piece could easily be recognised as there could be significant air leaks when the unit is operated.

Following the examination the branch recommended all mines thoroughly check CABA units for this type of fault and contact their suppliers if a fault is identified.

It was also suggested that handling procedures for CABA units be reviewed.

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