Refuge chambers in underground mines

On 31 March 2022, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws replaced the health and safety elements of the Mines Safety and Inspection laws. For information visit

All health and safety notifications, forms and guidance for mining and petroleum has moved to the WorkSafe website

There is the potential in underground mines for an irrespirable atmosphere to be generated as a result of fire, outburst of toxic gases, or the concentration of diesel emissions in poorly ventilated headings.

Since oxygen is vital for life, access to breathable air is critical. A refuge chamber can provide a safe haven while waiting for the fresh air supply to be reinstated or a rescue to be mounted.

It is the first place or location where rescue will be attempted to extricate personnel from the workplace to safety.

Refuge chambers in underground mines - guideline - 1564 Kb

Refuge chambers in underground mines - guideline: This guideline provides information on management and use of refuge chambers designed to protect people from exposure to irrespirable atmospheres underground during an emergency.

Refer to Fires underground in Guidance about addressing some common fire hazards for information on helping to prevent fires in underground mines.