Mining Publication: A General Framework for Prioritizing Research To Reduce Injuries and Diseases in Mining
A strategy for prioritizing mining health and safety research by evaluating the potential for risk reduction through intervention is proposed. Mining has one of the highest incidence rates of injury and disease found in major industries. The main premise of this paper is that often the best opportunities to reduce these rates are not revealed by retrospective analysis of injury and illness data. Instead, a proactive approach is needed that accounts for risks to specific hazards that can be abated by engineering or behavioral interventions. The process proposed here begins with development of prospective interventions. The degree of reduction in risk to be expected from an intervention then is determined from statistics on the mining worker population, the expected degree of success on the intervention, and the expected change in the severity of injuries resulting from the intervention. Three disparate mining health and safety concerns are presented to demonstrate common problems in assessing risks of injury and illness and describe additional data needs. Information on events preceding injuries and illnesses and more detailed demographic data on the mining work force are needed to analyze injury and illness data more precisely. Detailed information on exposure to specific hazards is necessary to evaluate the potential for an intervention to reduce risk of injury or illness.