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Implementing behavior-based safety for mining operations.

Geller-ES; Hickman-J; Click-Keeny-R
NIOSH 2001 Jan :1-520
This two-year research project developed and delivered a behavioral safety training program for mining operations, and tested implementations of the basic procedures of behavior-based safety at several mining operations. In addition, a safety culture survey was refined and administered at mining sites to assess readiness to implement an interdependent observation and feedback process. Property damage was explored as an upstream proactive measure of safety performance and a tool for preventing workplace injuries. In Study 1, behavioral observations and employee training sessions were conducted with four above-ground rock quarries. Mine A (n=18) and Mine B (n=15) are located in southwestern Virginia. Mines C (n=30) and D (n=22) are both located in northern Virginia. Participants were 99% male and 95% Caucasian. Though the sites differed in the number of employees, each was similar with respect to equipment used, size of quarry, and activity level. Materials from these mines were used mainly for road construction and building formation. Observations were attempted each weekday for one school year (August, 1999 to May, 2000). Site visits were hampered by the limited availability of the foreman to escort the researchers around the quarry, and poor weather conditions. The observation sessions lasted 30-120 minutes. The data from three above-ground rock quarries indicated a safe work environment, although this may not be the case. Our research concludes that BBS (behavior-based safety) is effective at increasing safe work practices. Training alone was not sufficient, but similar to past BBS feedback research, behavioral feedback led to a significant improvements in safety performance. Based on 3,898 observations over an eight-month period, overall percent safe scores across four sites increased from 79.3% to 86.5% safe following the introduction of BBS feedback. In Study 2, a behavior-based safety (BBS) incentive program was implemented at Site A (n=18), located in southwestern Virginia. Participants were 99% male and 95% Caucasian. During the weekly safety meeting, the safety coordinator announced there would be a raffle held every two weeks. A completed CBC (critical behavior checklist) entered the employee in the raffle. The winner of the raffle was randomly selected from the completed CBCs. The winning entry received a small tool kit. In addition, every employee who completed two CBCs per day received a coupon redeemable for a large pizza at a local restaurant. The data illustrate incentive systems can be extremely effective at increasing employee participation. However, the quality of the completed CBC did not improve; the majority of the CBCs reported only at-risk behaviors. Small rewards such as a tool kit or food coupon were responsible for a 600% increase in the number of CBC collected and a 500% increase in the number of different employees completing CBCs compared to baseline measures of employee participation, yet more is needed to motivate the employees to complete the CBCs correctly. In Study 3, a Safety Culture Survey (SCS) was administered to employees at Kennecot Mining Company, an above-ground coal mine in Wyoming (Cordero Rojo Plant), to assess the feasibility of using a BBS intervention. Results across all employees, including salary, maintenance, preparation, and production indicted these individuals had a positive view toward safety- related issues. These included: (a) favorable opinions regarding how strongly they believed they and others in the organization support safety, (b) favorable views of safety management systems already in place at the site, c) favorable actively caring behaviors related to the safety of coworkers, and (c) favorable views of themselves, their work teams, and the organization as a whole. Further, these results indicated BBS interventions, such as training and a peer observation and feedback process, could be implemented at this site. These results were useful in the design of the training materials. In Study 4, the SCS was administered to all intervention sites (n = 126). Overall results indicated a variety of positive discrepancies compared to a nonnative sample of industrial settings. For example, the miners generally had a more positive view of management support for safety at their plants. These same individuals also viewed their coworkers as having more support for safety compared to the norm. Yet, compared to the norm, miners viewed their personal responsibility for safety as much worse. While the miners indicated more personal control and belonging compared to the nonn, they were less optimistic and had lower self-efficacy than the norm. It should be noted that employees at an underground coal mine brought down the overall average on the majority of items. Not only did underground coal miners respond less favorable than their counter parts at the processing plant and above ground rock quarries, these individuals also responded considerably below the nonn on a variety of safety indicators. Thus, we concluded that the underground coal miners we sampled were not ready for a BBS process. In Study 5, an e-mail survey was sent to mining sites around the world in order to learn how various mining operation assess property damage. Unfortunately, we received few responses to this survey (only 5), even though we promised a complete report of our results for their participation. After compiling the e-mail responses, entertaining group discussions with safety coordinators at our research site, conducting a literature search, and questioning several safety professionals from outside the mining arena, we formulated an action plan to assess property damage in mining operations.
Mine-workers; Behavior; Behavioral-testing; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Quarry-workers; Miners; Mining-industry
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Funding Amount
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Fiscal Year
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NTIS Price
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia