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Using ergonomics to enhance safety and health in the U.S. mining industry.

Authors
Steiner-LJ; Torma-Krajewski-J; Schwerha-DJ
Source
31st International Conference of Safety in Mines Research Institutes, 2-5 October 2005, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Redbank, Queensland, Australia: Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Simtars), 2005 Oct; :106-111
Link
NIOSHTIC No.
20028512
Abstract
Mining is one of the most physically demanding occupations in the United States. The median number of lost days per mining work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) is nearly three times higher than that observed nationally for all occupations. The interactions of the mine environment, equipment, tools, and procedures, along with worker behavior and habits, contribute to the risk of injury in this dynamic work environment. NIOSH researchers initiated a project with a surface coal mining company to implement a proactive ergonomics process aimed at reducing worker exposure to risk factors associated with WMSDs. These efforts have resulted in an ergonomics process implemented by an active ergonomics committee backed by strong employee participation. Employees use their knowledge of risk factors to report concerns about their jobs. During the first 3 years of using this process, the committee has responded to more than 50 employee risk factor concerns and implemented more than 20 job improvements. In addition to the problem of high WMSD rates, demographic trends indicate that the median age of mine workers will increase over the next decade. Because WMSDs tend to increase and become more severe withe age, ongoing research aimed at helping miners age successfully through ergonomics promotes age-related interventions. The success of this research has far-reaching impact for the mining industry because it provides a model for implementing ergonomics processes and age-specific interventions.
Keywords
Mining-industry; Safety-research; Ergonomics; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Risk-factors; Employees; Age-groups; Age-factors; Miners; Back-injuries; Coal-mining; Materials-handling; Safety-programs; Miners; Training; Surface-mining
Contact
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Publication Date
20051002
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
2006
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
ISBN No.
0975817906
NIOSH Division
PRL
Source Name
31st International Conference of Safety in Mines Research Institutes, 2-5 October 2005, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
State
PA; WY
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