Accessing the MINOS Underground Area

Access to the underground area is made only via the MINOS Shaft elevator, within the MINOS Surface Building. The MINOS Building has 4 exterior doors and 1 large roll-up door, all of them locked at all times. One of the exterior doors leads into the Elevator Alcove and is opened with an Elevator Key. The southmost door has a keypad and can be opened with a valid Fermi ID. All other doors are opened with a Building key. This diagram shows the locations of the doors and which keys open which doors.

Elevator Keys and Building Keys

The Shaft elevator sits within an enclosed space inside the MINOS Building, the elevator alcove, which has two entry doors, one from within the Building and the other from outside the Building on the east patio. These doors are locked at all times. An Elevator Key for these doors can be obtained from the Main Control Room.

To access Underground you must have the following:

  • Up-to-date NuMI Underground Safety training and GERT or Rad Worker; see Underground Training for more information
  • An approved Access Permit, see the Access Permit Memo for details; use the links for Work Permit, or Tour Permit, if you are the escort for an approved Tour, for more information
  • An elevator key, available in the Main Control Room.
  • Hardhat; extras may be available at the service building, in the elevator room
  • Flashlight; lights are attatched to the keys, but a more substantial light is required for tour escorts
  • A Buddy - there must be at least 2 people underground during any access

You should be prepared to provide your work/tour Permit when requested if you are going underground.

Work Groups and Tour Groups

Anyone doing any form of work underground, including visual inspection of equipment, must check out a key, and is part of a work group. Untrained collaborators can go underground with a work group, but they cannot do anything more than observe or record (no helping, no handling of tools). There can be no more than 2 untrained for every 1 trained person in the work group, and the untrained people must have a Fermi ID badge and completed GERT and other basic training required to obtain the badge.

Larger numbers of untrained collaborators, and members of the general public, can be taken underground as a tour group. By definition, no work is performed by the tour escort(s) or by anyone in the group.

Escorts, whether escorting a tour group, or escorting untrained collaborators, should be familiar with what is required of them. See Escort Information for the details.

If your work group is accessing the Muon Alcoves, then you also need Rad Worker and Controlled Access training, and you need an additional Interlock key from the Main Control Room. Tours are not conducted into these areas.

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General Access Rules and Procedures

If you have taken the NuMI Underground Training, then you should know the general rules. The following list contains these, plus the key checkout procedure, plus answers to some commonly asked questions - -

  • Hardhats required. 20 hardhats are stored in the elevator room.
  • Carry a flashlight. Most of the keys have a small LED light attached, and while this is sufficient, you should make a habit of carrying your own small light. Tour escorts must carry more than the LED light on the key.
    Please do not steal the LED flashlight on the key ring, this could endanger the safety of the key's next user.
  • Closed-toed flat-soled shoes are required.
  • If you are part of a work group performing detector installation, involving tool use and/or working around heavy equipment, then additional safety gear may be required, such as safety glasses and steel-toed shoes. In this case, your work group should have a written Work Plan or JHA, and you should be familiar with it.
  • Detector maintenance work, like swapping electronics, generally does not require any additional safety gear.
  • You or someone with your group must submit a Work Permit Request. Let others in your group know which Permit Number is assigned to your work group.
  • Check out a key in the Main Control Room, in person.
  • Badge in/out at the Badge Board in the Elevator Alcove by taking an orange badge and replacing it with your Fermilab ID. Don't forget to return the orange badge when you exit. Badging in for tour groups is slightly different - see Escort Information.
  • For normal operations, a maximum of 50 people can be underground at one time - this is the number of orange badges we have on the Badge Board.
  • If there are no orange badges available, then the maximum number of people are already underground, and you have to wait. The Badge Board has the final word on getting underground. Generally the Main Control Room has only 26 keys; but in fact there are more keys than badges. Some keys are given to certain groups for emergency access: the Fire Dept, FESS, and Radiation Safety, for example. It is possible for you to have been given a key by the MCR when the maximum limit underground has been reached.
  • If you just came upstairs to use the restroom and are returning underground immediately (i.e. you are not leaving the Building), you can hold onto your orange badge. If you are heading out for lunch, then badge out, and badge back in when you return.
  • The elevator holds a maximum of 20 people. Fewer, if you are moving equipment in the elevator.
  • If there are already at least 2 people underground, and you are alone and want to join them, it is perfectly all right to ride the elevator by yourself.
  • At least one Escort must always accompany untrained collaborators or tourists in the elevator.
  • Two-person rule - there must be at least 2 people underground during any access.
  • If you get back upstairs, retrieve your badges, and then notice that there is one badge left (that person was perhaps working on their own, out of your sight), then you must send 2 people back down to find that person and tell them they have to come out. Or call, if you know which phone they were sitting near. Don't assume they already exited and just forgot to pick up their ID. Verify.
  • Return keys promptly to the Main Control Room. If you came up for lunch and are returning underground immediately afterward, you can hold onto your key. If you expect to be away from underground for more than 1 hour, then return the key.
  • For multi-day contractor work, the Task Manager can request a group of keys to be issued to the contractors for the length of the job. Contact the Underground coordinator.

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Returning Keys

Keys must be returned in person to the Main Control Room. Keys MUST be returned at the completion of a job. Keys should not leave site, or be kept for multiple days without the approval of the Underground Coordinator.

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