Mining Feature: New Web Application: Hazard Recognition Challenge

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Hazard Recognition Challenge—a new web application developed by NIOSH—gives mineworkers the chance to test their knowledge of hazards in a virtual work environment. This challenge represents a unique opportunity to practice workplace examinations in a safe location by using a PC or handheld device. After completing the challenge, users receive feedback on their performance along with supplemental information they can use to increase their knowledge of worksite hazards.

Photograph showing a user at a workstation searching for worksite hazards via the Hazard Recognition Challenge web application.

User navigating hazards at a virtual mine via the Hazard Recognition Challenge. Photo by NIOSH.

Workplace examinations are not only required by federal regulations, but are essential to mine safety. 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. To help workers perform these exams more effectively, NIOSH first conducted studies to better understand how and why mineworkers recognize workplace hazards.  In NIOSH’s Virtual Immersion and Simulation Laboratory (VISLab), researchers stitched together 32 panoramic images from a surface limestone mine and projected those images onto 10-foot screens in the 360° theater within the VISLab. Next, NIOSH invited safety professionals, mineworkers, and student volunteers to immerse themselves in this virtual environment and search for hazards as if they were performing a real workplace exam. Based on participant feedback, researchers  developed the Hazard Recognition Challenge to bring the enriching experience of the VISLab to a larger audience.

The four scenes that users visit during the Challenge are a shop, plant, pit, and roadway, with each scene containing multiple hazards. Users search each scene by panning and zooming the field of view around the 360° image, and the goal is to find as many hazards as possible within the scenes. Once the challenge is over, users are taken to a results summary page that tallies the number of hazards they correctly identified and those they missed, with narrative summaries of each hazard. By clicking on supplemental materials hyperlinked in the summaries—ranging from government regulations to downloadable apps—users can study further information about each hazard.

The Hazard Recognition Challenge can be accessed on the NIOSH Mining website at:

Page last reviewed: January 22, 2020
Page last updated: January 22, 2020