Mining Publication: Work Sampling Applied to a Human Factors Analysis of Mine Worker Positioning
Growing concern from labor unions, regulatory agencies, and industry about the safety of a prevalent underground coal mining method which utilizes remote control has prompted human factors field evaluation of mining activities. Remote control operations were implemented with little consideration given to human-system interactions. Ideally, collecting and analyzing information prior to implementing new technology would have helped to address potential problems. One such problem that operators and other mine personnel are faced with is the question of where they should safely position themselves to avoid injury while remotely operating machinery. To determine work methods employed by machine operators before and after implementation of the new method, work sampling techniques have been used to provide data about positioning of face crew members at different points in the mining cycle. This data provides information for optimal positioning, leading to safer operating procedures and identifying training shortfalls.