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Spokane Research Laboratory

The Spokane Research Laboratory (SRL) serves as the second focal point for mine health and safety research. While research programs touch most mining sectors, the major program focus is on metal and nonmetal mining. Major programmatic areas of study include:

Catastrophic Failure Detection and Prevention

This program is organized to detect and prevent catastrophic failure (collapse of mine roofs, rock bursts, slope failures, etc.) in mines through laboratory and field investigations. The latest in computer modeling techniques and models are being used to visualize and simulate mine conditions so that the risks of using alternative mining methods and support technologies can be tested.

Mining Injury and Disease Prevention

To prevent injuries and fatalities in both underground and surface mines, SRL: (1) identifies and classifies risk factors in mining; (2) evaluates recommendations for strategies to prevent injuries and disease through the use of effective control technologies; (3) studies the design of mining equipment to assess the potential risks involved in using it; and, (4) designs, builds, and tests equipment that incorporates innovative control technologies.

Extramural Coordination and Information Dissemination

Translation of research results into practical training and technology transfer products is a major activity at SRL. Also, a prominent "public face" has been developed at SRL through both systematic interactions with stakeholders and community-based activities.

Mining Surveillance and Statistical Support

To assist in planning and prioritizing future studies, SRL tracks trends in mining injuries, fatalities, and disease and conducts hazard surveillance concerning the use of new technologies in the mining industry.