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Risk assessment for the use of booster fans in underground coal mines

Mining Engineering , 2014, Vol. 66, No. 3, pp. 52-57

Calizaya, F.; Nelson, M.G.; Shriwas, M.


 A booster fan is an underground ventilation device installed in the main airstream to handle the total quantity of air circulated to one or more working districts. It is installed in a permanent stopping and equipped with airlock doors, a monitoring system and interlocking devices between the main fan and the booster fan. When adequately installed, a booster fan can be used to reduce the main fan pressure, reduce leakage and decrease the power consumption. However, an inadequate installation can increase the likelihood of mine fires and recirculation of air contaminants. This study identifies hazards associated with the operation and maintenance of booster fans. It analyzes the accompanying risks and recommends control measures to reduce those risks to acceptable levels. The ventilation network of an existing coal mine was updated to include a booster fan. The hazards associated with the operation of this fan were identified, the risks analyzed and the response to each failure mode established.