With accident cause still mystery, mine plans better underground communication
Eesti Energia, the state energy company, plans to introduce wireless communication in the Estonia mine in coming years to improve safety.
Currently, emergency telephone sets are positioned every 500 meters.
But after an accident claimed the lives of two people in the Estonia mine, the mine will move to more comprehensive communication systems underground, said the production director.
The cause of the January accident has yet to be determined but it appears it was not related to a cave-in or explosion. A toxic gas or asphyxia is possible, but rescue workers did not have to use artificial air sources upon arriving at the scene, said mine production director Erik Väli on ETV.
Workers are required to carry a device that provides up to two hours' protection against carbon monoxide in the case of fire.
For more difficult jobs, personnel carry a more complex piece of equipment that provides protection against all gases for three hours in stationary position, and for half an hour while moving. The victims of the mine accident had such a device.
The investigation has yet to determine whether the men tried to activate this device.
Väli said it is rare for the devices to be used, and added that the men also are issued sensors that emit a signal when the concentration of gas rises above permissible levels.
Miners and energy workers union head Vladislav Ponjatovski said that in actuality, the cell phone-sized sensors are not always carried. He said this will now change.