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October 1962

Safety in mines
   Miners at the Albert Colliery, Hindley Green, are to try out a newly designed self-rescue apparatus to protect men working underground against carbon monoxide gas - or blackdamp as it is known to miners. The Albert Colliery has been chosen by a joint committee of the Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers. The pit employs 435 men underground who will be trained in the use of the new apparatus. Then when training and other arrangements are completed, the men will be issued with self-rescue masks to take down the pit each day. The trials will continue for at least twelve months.
   The mask and container weigh 2lbs. and the container clips on to a miner's belt. When carbon monoxide gas occurs underground the miner breaks the seal on the container, takes out the mask, fixes the clamp on his nose and puts on the mouthpiece. He breathes through the mouth and the filter on the mask prevents the poisonous gas from doing him any harm. A miner so equipped is safe for about half an hour - enough time to get away from the danger area.
   The trials at Albert Colliery are to find out how the masks stand up to daily wear and tear. They will be examined periodically by scientists to see if they are still airtight and watertight. The ultimate aim will be to issue every miner with a self-rescue apparatus and to make the mask just as familiar a piece of equipment as the miner's hard hat, cap lamp and battery.

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