Mining Feature: NIOSH Exhibit at the 2018 SME Annual Conference

Friday, February 23, 2018

NIOSH will showcase some of its latest mine safety and health research at the 2018 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Annual Conference and Expo February 25–28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stop by the NIOSH exhibit (Booth #1927) to try out new software, see technology demonstrations, or pick up one of our latest publications. NIOSH researchers and representatives will also be presenting research and spending time at the exhibit throughout the conference.

Exhibit features include:

  • On-filter, End-of-shift Crystalline Silica Measurement Technology for Coal and Metal/Nonmetal Mines. Overexposure to respirable crystalline silica can lead to the development of silicosis, a disabling, irreversible, and potentially fatal lung disease. One of the challenges in controlling exposure to crystalline silica in mining is the inability to rapidly assess exposure. NIOSH is currently beta-testing a new approach to silica measurement and monitoring that will be beneficial to the mining industry, offering quick results at the end of the shift instead of weeks later as is the case with current analysis techniques.

  • Dynamic Virtual Reality Simulations for Proximity Detection. Mineworkers perform tasks and control machinery in challenging conditions and are often in close proximity to moving machines. Virtual reality simulations of proximity detection systems allow NIOSH researchers to see how the different systems would respond under a variety of conditions. NIOSH researchers are using these simulations to determine the expected stopping distances for mobile underground coal mining equipment that have proximity detection systems. The simulations will produce recommendations for appropriate detection ranges and deceleration rates. Visitors to the NIOSH booth will be able to try out a simulation by selecting a machine type, grade, vehicle weight, and proximity detection zone size. Then, you will view a video that shows the dynamic simulation based on your selections. Note: these videos are for demonstration purposes only.

  • Entry Modeling and Gateroad Stability. Underground coal miners working in longwall mines face hazards from major roof collapses that can block necessary escape routes and ventilation airways, and from injuries from falls of smaller volumes of rock and coal. NIOSH researchers have completed and are also in the process of conducting research to establish modeling techniques to enhance gateroad stability. This project addresses hazards faced by underground coal miners working in longwall mines from major roof collapses. Information will be available for visitors to the NIOSH booth, describing several research projects and detailing NIOSH’s approach to and recommendations for enhancing gateroad stability.

  • Safety Pays in Mining Web Application. Mine managers are directly affected by occupational injuries and illnesses than can impact profitability. The Safety Pays in Mining online tool web application shows the cost of worker injuries and provides suggestions for ways the money saved by preventing such injuries could be reinvested in safety and health. Users enter their company’s profit margin to determine the average direct costs of an injury or illness, and use an indirect cost multiplier to estimate the sales a company would need in order to make up the costs of an employee injury or illness. Visitors will be able to view the application and enter simulated costs to see how mining companies save money by avoiding worksite-related injuries and illnesses.

  • Hazard Recognition Challenge. Each day, mineworkers conduct routine workplace examinations at their sites with the goal of finding hazards and addressing them before they cause injury or death. The Hazard Recognition Challenge is a new NIOSH-developed web application that gives mineworkers the chance to test their knowledge of hazards in a virtual work environment. The app allows users to perform a virtual workplace examination on four locations at a surface stone operation, provides feedback on their performance, and offers supplemental information that they can use to increase their knowledge of worksite hazards. Information on the Hazard Recognition Challenge will be available at the NIOSH booth, and visitors will be able to try the new web app by taking the challenge.

  • Mining Infographics. Musculoskeletal disorders are one of the largest categories of injuries in mining, and a significant contributor to all mining injuries are slips, trips, and falls. NIOSH recently published a series of NIOSH Mining infographics that will help mineworkers recognize the hazards in mining. These infographics also offer guidance on steps for ladder safety, actions haul truck drivers can take to prevent a fatal accident, and designs for hazardous machine guards that put miners at risk. Copies of the infographics will be available to visitors at the NIOSH booth.

  • DRIFT Software. Ground falls continue to be of major concern to miner safety, and particular risk exists at the drift face where the miner is responsible for drilling, blasting, rock scaling, and installing roof support. The NIOSH-developed DRIFT software is now available for download and is currently being beta-tested to complete NIOSH’s rigorous testing standards. DRIFT is a program that is used to assist mines with the design of blast hole patterns in underground mines. The purpose of the DRIFT software is to provide the blast design engineer with a tool for developing an initial conceptual blast design with the goal of meeting design objectives. Information on the DRIFT software will be available for visitors to the NIOSH booth.

  • Heat Stress Prevention Fact Sheets, Poster, and Training. Heat exposure can cause a range of effects on your body, from irritating rashes to heat stroke, which is often fatal. NIOSH Mining has developed and published a set of fact sheets on heat stress that offer practical information about staying safe and healthy while working in hot mining conditions. These fact sheets provide a general overview of heat stress, acclimatization, first aid for heat illness, hydration, risk factors, and work/rest schedules. The fact sheets will be available for visitors to the NIOSH booth, along with a free complementary poster that visitors can display at their worksites.

  • Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. Coal mine workers are at risk for a range of respiratory diseases, including “black lung” and silicosis. The Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program brings a mobile clinic to coal mining areas across the country offering free chest x-rays, spirometry tests, and information about respiratory diseases. Visitors to the NIOSH exhibit will be able to see freeze-dried human lungs and compare healthy lungs to those that have experienced years of exposure to coal dust, as well as learn more about black lung prevention and detection through this program.

Page last reviewed: February 23, 2018
Page last updated: February 23, 2018