Specialist Plant have recently completely overhauled and rebuilt their Comex Medical Decompression Chamber (MDC) into a new 20’ ISO shipping container for an upcoming job in Georgia with Bessac.
The chamber, alongside other compressed air equipment, is used to treat miners/ workers who are suffering with Decompression Illness (DCI) – also known as ‘the bends’. When conducting interventions on TBMs, the ground must be stabilised to prevent a collapse in the face. One way to do this uses compressed air – the ground pressure is opposed by a volume of compressed air (which in turn, holds up the face) – this allows the men to work at the face and change to tooling, without the fear of collapse. In order for the men to work in the compressed air, they are usually compressed and decompressed in manlocks based underground, to bring them up to and down from the pressure required. The men are then observed for an hour post-shift (as this is when most issues are likely to occur), and if any problems arise, they can be recompressed in the MDC on the surface, under constant supervision of a trained hyperbaric doctor.
Specialist Plant have a number of these in the fleet, and the Comex is the latest to have its ‘birthday’. The unit is fully fitted into a 20’ ISO shipping container, with side and end opening doors which are all designed to fit within shipping gauge. The container itself fully lined and insulated, with heating and air conditioning units (for use in the warmest and coldest climates). Dimmable lights allow the Medical Lock Attendant (MLA)/ Doctor better sight into the chambers, and an end workstation allows them a place to work.
The Comex lock itself is capable of pressures up to 5.5bar, and can accommodate up to 3 people at any one time. The Comex complies with the UK 1996 WICAR (Work in Compressed Air Regulations) and the UK Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (2000). It is also fitted with an oxygen breathing system in both the main and entry locks.