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Mining Contract: Safety Culture Assessment in Underground Coal Mining

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated. Contact OMSHR if you need an accessible version of this document.
Contract DetailValue
Contract #254-2006-M-17202
Start Date7/10/2006
End Date9/30/2007
Research Concept

The purpose of this contract was to conduct a pilot implementation of a Safety Culture Assessment Methodology at a small underground coal mine in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Based on the success of the pilot study, the same methodology would be applied at a larger sample of coal mines in a subsequent study to define and evaluate the existing safety culture of the coal mining industry. By understanding the culture, behaviors that promote safety, as well as behaviors that need to be changed, can be identified and targeted to effect long-term improvements in the coal industry's safety performance.

Program Area

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is complete. The final report describes the results of a pilot Safety Culture Assessment implemented at a small Appalachian underground coal mine in 2007. To obtain a copy of this report, send a request to

The purposes of this pilot assessment were to

  • evaluate the feasibility and usefulness of a methodology for assessing safety culture that had previously been developed for use within other industries,
  • initiate an investigation into the understanding and defining of the existing safety culture of the underground coal mining industry, and
  • provide meaningful and useful recommendations for the participating mine to further enhance its existing safety culture.

The report provides information regarding the presence or absence of safety culture characteristics within the mine. Observations regarding characteristics of the mine’s safety culture that should be sustained are presented. Areas in need of attention and management focus to improve the mine’s safety culture are presented as well as recommendations for moving forward.

The feasibility and usefulness of the Safety Culture Assessment methodology was successfully demonstrated during this pilot assessment. All aspects of the methodology including functional analysis, structured interviews with accompanying behavioral scales, work observations, and the paper and pencil survey administration were implemented without any difficulties. Mine participants were able to provide all information necessary for the successful implementation of the methodology without any problems. The success of this pilot study led to the funding of a subsequent three-year project, "Assessing the Safety Culture Assessment of Mines," to assess safety culture at six more coal mines. This study began in 2009.

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