A new sensory device could increase the safety of workers and help save lives in the coal mining industry, according to researchers at Nottingham University.
The penny-sized sensor, which will fit into the miners helmets, will enable those above ground to monitor the workers heart rate, temperature and respiration.
Incidents such as the Gelision Colliery accident in Wales last year which led to the death of four miners have shown the need to be able to assess the health and location of miners trapped underground.
Professors at Nottingham University are working with electronics company Tioga to develop the Mining Industry Mobile Sensor (MiMoS). The idea came after the University’s previous research into a technology, which provided a way of continuously monitoring the heartbeat of new-born babies by attaching a small sensor to their head, without having to use a stethoscope.
Professor Barrie Hayes-Gill said the new device will also help reduce the risk of injury to individual miners by checking for dangerous gases.
He said: “Not only will it be able to instantly detect serious issues with the wellbeing of miners, but it will also enable long term and detailed occupational health monitoring of each miner to take place.
“In addition, it will also offer continuous gas detection technology, which will enable managers to quickly recognise potentially dangerous changes in gas levels, so that the necessary action can be taken as required.”
Tioga has successfully trialled MiMoS in local mines and the product is expected to be launched in 2014 following final developments on the device.