Dräger’s self-contained self-rescuers (SCSR) provide a reliable and steady supply of oxygen for long duration to mineworkers in underground environments where there is either low supply of oxygen or contaminated oxygen. This ensures that mine operators achieve compliance with regulation on Mine Health and Safety.
It is very hectic in underground mines as production is at its peak – a far cry from a period of stagnation due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns just over a year ago. Doubtless, this is good news for shareholders as they are set to earn a decent return on investment through increased revenue if the trend continues. But are mining managers as concerned about meeting shareholder expectations as they are about the occupational health and safety of their most invaluable assets – employees deployed in deep and ultra-deep environments?
What regulation says
Regulation (with respect to South Africa, Sections 54 and 55 of the Mine Health & Safety Act) obligates mining companies to adopt measures that can mitigate the health risks which their employees face in harsh environments in which their operate. One of the requirements is provision of adequate oxygen for workers to use, as it is an environment where there is likely to be insufficient oxygen or there could oxygen contaminated with toxic gases which could put lives of mines at huge risk. This necessitates mines to be well-equipped with sufficient oxygen in the event of such an eventuality.
Self-contained rescue devices (SCSR)
An oxygen self-rescuer or self-contained rescue device (SCSR) is now considered one of the preferred devices when it comes to ensuring a reliable oxygen supply. In its manual, Dräger, the world’s supplier of oxygen self-rescuers or self-contained rescue devices (SCSR) offer a clear definition of a SCSR: “SCSR is a portable piece of equipment that supplies breathable air when the surrounding atmosphere lacks oxygen or is contaminated with toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide. SCSRs are intended for use in mines or other areas where there are risks of sudden fires or explosions, which can change the quality of the surrounding air, making it dangerous to breathe. Where no external rescue is immediately available, workers must turn to self-rescue and make their own way to safety or to a pre-equipped underground refuge – and SCSRs ensure they have adequate time to do so.”
Drager South Africa’s SCSRs have become a reference point for reliable and durability in SCSRs. The company’s flagship oxygen self-rescuers, Dräger Oxy® devices Oxy® 3000/ 6000 MK II, are designed to handle the harshest conditions. The self-rescuers are designed for long duration usage in a number of industries, including mining, petrochemicals and emergency services.
End-users – mine operators or mining companies in this context – are rest assured that they are using a product specifically engineered for emergency applications through ergonomic design and convenience, virtually no maintenance worries, long duration, Robustness and Safety Eye (operation readiness). To crown it all, they carry ten-year warranty.
- Ergonomic Design and Convenience
Drager Oxy® devices is renowned for ergonomic design and small size which allows for easy of use by the mineworker. They are comfortable to wear and minimise restriction of movement and interference with work. Fitted with a stainless-steel clip that is easy to open with either hand, they are simple and quick to wear. The functional device is removed from the protective outer casing by pulling on the yellow neck strap. The breathing hose can then be placed in the mouth and the nose clip positioned. Simultaneously, the starter is automatically activated, providing an immediate air supply.
Besides, depending on the application, the Drager Oxy® devices can be carried with a shoulder strap or worn with a belt. The facepiece comprises a mouthpiece, nose clip and protective goggles. A wide range of accessories is also available.
- Ideal emergency system (60 minutes duration)
Intuitive in operation and flexible in use, the Drager Oxy® devices supply independent air for up to 60 minutes. This makes them an ideal emergency system for escape from hazardous areas containing smoke, toxic gases or oxygen deficiency.
- Robust housing (double cased design)
Drager Oxy® devices have been designed, engineered and manufactured with harsh conditions in underground mines in mind. The robust housing features a double-cased design (a combination of metal/plastic exterior shell), complemented with integrated shock absorption and crush zone protection, to offer protection in harsh environments like mining and petrochemical industries. It also features replaceable abrasion/wear protection for maximum strength and durability.
The exterior shell is left behind when the device is activated. This feature allows employees safe, effective and uncomplicated escape from hazardous environment.
- Safety Eye for operational readiness
The ‘Safety Eye’ provides immediate confirmation of operational readiness, which ensures maximum reliability and efficiency. The Safety Eye provides an additional level of security: the status window allows the user to assess whether the device is operational within seconds. Through the “Safety Eye’ users are able to check for the presence of moisture and yellow KO2 cartridge fragments within the device on a daily basis. This is without having to subject the equipment to rigorous testing.
Ultimately, the quick, uncomplicated visual inspection of the exterior shell, together with the Safety Eye, provide certainty about the functionality of the device. These two features allow the mine operator not only to reduce the risk for employees, but also operating costs.
Maintenance and warranty
Dräger offers a ten-year lifetime without maintenance on Drager Oxy® devices without maintenance. Thanks to their robust construction, the devices can be used maintenance-free for up to ten years. While the self-rescuers are largely maintenance-free, Dräger does provide full backup, in addition to assistance with training, either on site or at its own offices.
Drager Oxy® devices are manufactured with stringent adherence to international quality assurance standards – in South Africa (SANS 10338:2009), India Standard (IS 15803:2008) and Brazil (Brasil CA No. 39.858).
For the mine operator, features of the Drager Oxy® devices enable reduced cost as well as reliability in the supply of a reliable supply of oxygen.
Generally speaking, consistently, Drager Oxy® devices offer less maintenance, lower costs, durability and reliability to mine operators in underground environments. No wonder, in the face of new products, the devices, which provide a steady supply of oxygen for long duration, are still regarded as a reference point for SCSRs where areas there is either low supply of oxygen or contaminated oxygen.
Committed to Rescuing African miners
In 2019, Dräger South Africa supplied nearly 700 of its Oxy 6000 self-rescuers to Exxaro, a long-standing customer of Dräger South Africa. Many mines in South Africa, Zambia and other countries on the continent use Dräger’s self-rescuers. Apart from self-rescuers, Dräger’s mining-specific product line-up for the mining industry includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), gas detectors and refuge shelters for emergency situations.
Dräger South Africa is based in Johannesburg with branches around the country. Disposable face-masks produced in the manufacturing plant in East London are supplied throughout South Africa and exported worldwide.
Dräger South Africa is a subsidiary of Dräger, a family-owned company founded in 1889 in Lübeck, Germany. An international leader in the fields of medical and safety technology, Dräger is headquartered in Lübeck. It has sales and service subsidiaries in over 50 countries with its total global workforce numbering more than 14 000 employees.