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Mining Project: Assessing the Safety Culture of Coal Mining

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigators
  • Carin Kosmoski, NIOSH, 412-386-6649
Start Date10/1/2008
Purpose

This four-year project will involve working with an outside consultant, Human Performance Analysis, to assess the safety culture at U.S. coal mines. The outside consultant will train NIOSH employees on best practices involved in conducting a safety culture assessment.

Program Area
Keywordsmining, risk assessment, safety

Research Summary

This four-year project will involve working with an outside consultant, Human Performance Analysis, to assess the safety culture at U.S. coal mines. The outside consultant will train NIOSH employees on best practices involved in conducting a safety culture assessment

This training will mainly take part during year two. This safety culture assessment will answer the following research question: what is the safety culture at coal mines? Five mines will be employed to assess the safety culture of their mines using both quantitative and qualitative measures that have been previously validated. This part of the project will take place during years two, three, and four. This project is expected to produce recommendations to improve the health and safety of underground coal mines. Final recommendations and publications will be produced during year four.

Coal mining production continues to escalate every year to match the growing demand for electricity. Coal mining, however, is a very hazardous occupation as coal miners are more likely to sustain an injury or illness than workers in private industry (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007). Thus, it is important to find new ways to protect workers as they mine coal to keep up with the energy demands. One way to improve the safety and health at coal mines is to assess the safety culture at a mine. This project will assess the safety culture at five coal mines and make recommendations to improve the safety and health of miners. These recommendations can be used by not only the five mines studied, but may also lead to future safety practices or regulations for the industry as a whole. This is a three-year project that can yield important changes in safety behavior and, therefore, lead to fewer fatalities and injuries in the coal mining industry.

Outputs: This project will produce a safety culture analysis at each of the five cooperating mines. This analysis will lead to recommendations for improved safety at each of these mines and for coal mining as a whole. These recommendations will be complete at the end of year three. This project will also lead to publications and conference papers. Intermediate Outcomes: It is hoped that these recommendations lead mine operators to enact changes that lead to safer workplaces.

 

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