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Technology News 409 - innovative idea for teaching hazard recognition skills to miners.

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, TN 409, 1992 Oct; :1-2
Objective: Enhance the critical skill of hazard recognition among miners by providing quality training that can help job performance and lead to a higher degree of safety in the workplace. Background: In mining, as in many other occupations, the safety of the worker depends on his or her ability to recognize hazards in the workplace. Some of the information needed by the miner for recognizing potential areas of danger is available in the form of visual cues found throughout the mine. One aspect of the dynamic mine environment in which the task of hazard recognition is critical for all workers is that of ground control. Regardless of job responsibilities, every worker is continuously exposed to roof, rib, and floor hazards. Fatality injury data for the "underground coal" segment of the mining industry continue to show that about half of all fatalities are due to falls of ground each year. It is hypothesized that some of these accidents can be prevented if miners are better able to recognize visual cues that forewarn of potential roof and rib problems. Many investigations found in the literature suggest that visual skills and perceptual judgments are susceptible to training. One example is the extensive base of information in the military's research on target identification that ties the improvement of visual skills with training. Methods for teaching hazard recognition to miners have not changed appreciably since trainers began presenting visual descriptors in the classroom depicting underground and surface workplace hazards. These slides or pictures generally highlight specific hazards coupled with a verbal admonition, "If you see this, avoid it." Most hazard recognition programs then assume that periodically showing problems to workers will have some impact months down the road when they happen to encounter the hazard. Approach: Instructional materials have been designed and tested by the Bureau to teach and assess the skills needed by miners for responding to dangerous underground conditions. The training materials use three-dimensional (3-D) slides with problem-solving latent image simulation exercises for teaching hazard recognition. Two latent image-3-D simulation exercises have been developed to date: Sammy Spadd and D. R. Light. Each exercise is based upon realistic situations involving miners conducting job related tasks and is designed to place the persons in a simulation of that situation. Sammy Spadd is an eight question, six slide exercise that deals with the hazards of low hanging roof and cutter roof. D. R. Light is a ten question, seven slide exercise that deals with high roof fall areas and chandelier roof hazards. Field testing of these exercises has shown the educational value of this innovative training concept. In the safety of the classroom, miners can vicariously experience real life situations found in the workplace and the results of both good and bad judgment and decision making. The exercises are designed to reinforce good decisions ,and to correct errors in miners' reasoning. Proficient responses to the questions will result in preventing or minimizing the occurrence of bad roof situations; errors in recognition, interpretation, and judgment will lead to actions that jeopardize the safety of workers.
Ground-control; Training; Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention; Education; Coal-mining; Coal-miners
Edward A. Barrett, U.S. Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh Research Center, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, TN 409