Mining Publication: Solutions to Prevent Materials-Handling Injuries in Underground Coal Mines
Of the 28 accident/injury classifications listed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, handling materials is second only to roof falls in terms of generating the highest number of reportable accidents in active underground coal mines. Two materials-handling activities that cause numerous injuries each year are the categories of "handling supplies or material, load and unload" and "moving power cables". Mechanization and mine worker activity training are two methods that can aid in preventing these injuries. This paper describes three mechanical methods - the mobile manipulator, the in-mine hoist, and a cable-handling system - being developed and tested at the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Two of the devices are specifically designed for loading, unloading, and moving supplies and materials, and the third device is for handling trailing cables in the confined spaces of coal mines. Also described are safety solutions developed for underground coal mines geared to showing miners safe and unsafe ways of performing various materials-handling tasks.