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Mining Feature: NIOSH Engineer Chosen for Presidential Early Career Award

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jacob Carr

Jacob Carr.

Jacob Carr, Lead General Engineer for NIOSH’s Pittsburgh Mining Research Division, is one of 105 individuals selected for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. This award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Selected from among a dozen federal agencies and departments, recipients are chosen for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Mr. Carr will receive his award at a Washington, DC, ceremony in the spring.

Among his work at NIOSH recognized by this award, Mr. Carr has been involved in project research related to proximity detection for continuous mining machines and intelligent lockout/tagout for stationary machinery. In underground mines, there are hundreds of injuries and accidents annually, sometimes fatal, involving mine workers being struck or pinned by continuous mining machines. The proximity detection system developed through Mr. Carr’s research provides enhanced protection against these hazards by continuously tracking the positions of miners and selectively disabling potentially dangerous machine motions. At surface mines, pinning and entanglement of workers during maintenance around stationary equipment are the leading causes of severe machine-related injuries and fatalities. The intelligent lockout/tagout system aims to prevent these accidents by sensing lockout and guarding status and providing automatic protection to workers. These new safety technologies that Mr. Carr has helped to develop receive high visibility in the mining safety community and hold promise to significantly enhance mine worker safety.

Jacob Carr performing research on a continuous mining machine in an underground coal mine

Jacob Carr participating in continuous mining machine research.

Mr. Carr has also represented NIOSH at the West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Task Force, has provided official comments on Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) proposed rules, and has served as Mining Engineering Chair for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Young Leaders Committee, through which he promoted and coordinated professional development opportunities for young professionals and recent graduates in the mining community. As a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State University, Mr. Carr is currently continuing his education full-time before returning to his engineering career with NIOSH.