Mining Publication: Ergonomic and Statistical Assessment of Safety in Deep-Cut Mines
This U.S. Bureau of Mines paper examines the occupational safety concerns associated with deep-cut mining. Mining deeper cuts may have some unknown effects on how miners position themselves for visibility, the types of accidents that can occur, and the new interactions between the equipment and the continuous miner operator. This preliminary report utilizes data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration accident database, interviews with mine workers and mine operators, and conversations with State, local, and union representatives. A statistical analysis was performed to compare injuries and fatalities that occurred in mines with deep-cut approval to mines that did not have deep-cut approval. The data were categorized by mine size. A series of interviews with over 50 mine workers in 5 States was also conducted. A preliminary task analysis study revealed some concern in the following areas: the bolting cycle, continuous miner operator positioning and visibility, mine conditions and depth of cut, cable handling, and remote-control unit design. Methods that will be used to study these tasks are discussed.