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Mining Program Area: Training Research and Development


Training is a critical element of an effective safety and health program. Federal regulations (30 CFR, Parts 46 and 48) call for mine operators to provide initial safety and health training to every new mine worker and then a minimum of eight hours of refresher training for all mine workers each year. There are additional training requirements related to specific positions, jobs, and tasks. The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act) of 2006 specifically addressed and increased the amount of training that must be routinely conducted for emergency responders and for all mine workers. To make all of these training hours worthwhile, there is a strong and steady demand for improved methods and materials. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) is helping meet these needs by conducting research on the latest technologies and methods for mine worker training.


OMSHR's mine safety and health training research and development activities are conducted with input from mine workers and mine safety and health professionals. In 2011, OMSHR gathered a group of stakeholders from industry, labor, professional organizations, and the federal government to discuss the future of mine safety and health training practices. This group identified the five areas below as key targets for future research:

  1. Using technology to make training more realistic and engaging
  2. Incorporating mechanisms by which trainees can provide timely feedback to instructors
  3. Developing effective online training delivery methods
  4. Incorporating trainee input and feedback in the development of training materials
  5. Reviewing and clarifying the requirements for mine trainer certification and developing recertification schedules

Current OMSHR research is related to the first four targets.

Projects & Contracts

TitlePIsStart DateDescription
Enhancing Mine Workers’ Abilities to Identify Hazards at Sand, Stone, and Gravel MinesBrianna Eiter10/1/2014A project to characterize sand, stone, and gravel mine workers’ ability to recognize worksite hazards and to understand how this ability relates to perceived and measured risk as well as to other factors internal and external.
Self-Escape from Underground Coal Mines Training InitiativeLauna Mallet10/1/2014A project to characterize the essential components of the mine emergency escape system and develop interventions designed to improve system preparedness and self-escape training of underground coal mining personnel.
TitlePIsStart DateDescription
Defining Risk Perception and Tolerance Within a Decision Science FrameworkBrianna Eiter10/1/2013A project to identify and define the theoretical constructs for risk perception and tolerance from the perspective of the sand, stone, and gravel mine worker and determine how these perspectives influence their decisionmaking processes.
Improvements to Mine Escape TrainingRobert H. Peters10/1/2009A project to ensure that suitable information exists for properly training underground coal miners on appropriate procedures for escaping from dangerous situations such as fires, explosions, and inundations.
Virtual Reality to Train and Assess Emergency RespondersCassandra L. Hoebbel12/1/2011A research project designed to determine optimal use of virtual reality (VR) technologies for training and assessing mine emergency responders.
TitleContractorContract/IAG #Start DateDescription
Mining and Industrial Safety Technology and Training InnovationWheeling Jesuit University1H75OH0098229/30/2009A contract in the form of a grant to investigate how modern technologies and educational approaches can improve mine safety. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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