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:
- Using technology to make training more realistic and engaging
- Incorporating mechanisms by which trainees can provide timely feedback to instructors
- Developing effective online training delivery methods
- Incorporating trainee input and feedback in the development of training materials
- Reviewing and clarifying the requirements for mine trainer certification and developing recertification schedules
Current OMSHR research is related to the first three targets. Most of this work is taking place at the Mine Rescue and Escape Training Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA.