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Mining Project: Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazard Identification, Investigation, and Remediation at Surface Mining Facilities

Principal Investigator
  • Mahiyar Nasarwanji, NIOSH, 412-386-5113
Start Date1/1/2015

To utilize a multifaceted approach to investigate slips, trips, and falls (STF) by developing tools to identify, report, and remediate STF hazards in the workplace, providing recommendations for footwear based on empirical evidence and identifying features of mobile equipment ingress/egress systems that pose a risk of STF.

Topic Area

Research Summary

Slips, trips, and falls (STF) are the second-largest contributor to non-fatal injuries in the U.S. mining industry. Although well-established as a major source of injury, workplace STF hazards are still widespread. Few context-specific resources are available that mining companies can use to identify and remediate STF hazards in the workplace. There is also limited knowledge on the influence of mining footwear on gait. In addition, the ingress/egress systems of mobile equipment are a major contributor to STF injuries; however, the elements of the system that pose a risk are still unknown. Although some mining companies acknowledge STF as a problem, they often do not have the resources or expertise to address the problem in a systematic way. In addition, the problems highlighted, such as footwear and ingress/egress, may apply to industries other than mining such as construction.

To address these issues, this project has four research aims, as follows:

  1. Develop tools to identify, report, and remediate, in a timely manner, STF hazards in the workplace.
  2. Provide empirical evidence of any gait modifications associated with wearing metatarsal boots that may increase the risk for STF.
  3. Provide empirical evidence and recommendations for boot replacement based on tread features to prevent STF.
  4. Identify which features of the ingress/egress systems pose a risk of STF to mobile equipment operators and if mining companies are aware of alternative ingress/egress systems for purchase.

The project adopts a multifaceted approach to investigating STF, including empirical investigation, longitudinal tracking, and interviews with mining companies. Hazard assessment and remediation tools developed though systematic observation and classification of identified STF hazards will provide mines with the knowledge and abilities to identify, report, and remediate STF hazards in a timely manner.

Products resulting from this research will change how mining companies assess STF hazards and improve reporting and remediation. The knowledge gained from an empirical investigation of the impact of metatarsal boots on gait when traversing flat, inclined surfaces and stairs will allow mining companies to determine when the risk of a slip or fall due to wearing metatarsal boots outweighs the benefits of the added foot protection. The knowledge gained from longitudinally tracking boot wear could inform mine policy and practices by providing miners and mine managers with the knowledge to determine when to replace footwear based on wear patterns and decreased tread depths. The knowledge gained from interviewing mining companies and mobile equipment operators, manufacturers, and dealers will help identify components of the ingress/egress system that can be made safer by the manufacturers, allowing mining companies to make better purchasing decisions and encouraging the acquisition of systems with better slip and fall protection.