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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Safety Idea

Surveying in Advance to Aid in Locating Trapped Miners

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Underground Mines
Category: General Safety and Training


Global Positioning System (GPS) surveying has greatly enhanced the accuracy and timeliness of surveying. However, mine accidents that trap miners may occur during inclement weather. At this time, the GPS satellite links may be lost or the data collection system may be slow or even inoperable. In these cases, conventional surveying methods must be used. In preparation for these circumstances, MSHA recommends that mine operators:

    Surveying in Advance to Aid in Locating Trapped Miners
  • Establish strategic surface stations or markers over the underground active working sections as a routine part of the mining advancement. These surface markers must be readily accessible and easily located in the event they need to be used to determine a miner's exact location.


  • Protect markers from the elements and vandalism. Markers should be easily recognizable by any survey crew operating during times of an emergency.


  • Show markers on a map that also depicts surface features such as roads, streams, powerlines, etc.
  • Operators may consider including this surface marker's placement in the mine's emergency preparedness planning.


  • Environmental permitting and property acquisitions should include access for the setting of surface markers during active mining.
Implementing these suggestions will aid in the rapid determination of surface borehole drilling locations in the event of an emergency.

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Issued: 01/19/2007
Tag # AP2006-93261