Mining Project: Analysis of Health and Safety Management System Practices Through Multilevel Interventions

Principal Investigator
Start Date 10/1/2014

To  identify and characterize health and safety performance practices – through worker-technology-management interactions – to provide guidance about risk management processes with a focus on: (1) accurate identification and management of site-wide risks; and (2) improvement in organizational and individual H&S values through empowering initiatives on site, in order to understand how health and safety risk management tools and technologies can influence workers' health and safety perceptions and behaviors through appropriate implementation on site.

Topic Areas

Research Summary

Research is needed that informs the industry about what risk management practices are important for mine worker health and safety (H&S) performance and how those practices can be developed, implemented, and maintained over time as part of a continuous organizational process within a site's respective health and safety management system (HSMS). One of the possible reasons why HSMS is not fully integrated in the mining industry is because perspectives of the worker and of mine site leadership have not been considered together to fully understand and manage risk-based problems.

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

  1. Determine the most important organizational values and individual characteristics that influence miners’ proactive safety/health performance.
  2. Develop and test multilevel interventions that use safety/health technology as a risk management tool to identify, understand, and improve how organizational leadership and communication practices influence worker perceptions and subsequent behaviors.
  3. Draft pilot health and safety management tools to inform communication and risk assessment efforts at different levels of the organization.

Under this project research, multilevel interventions (MLIs) are designed to follow a sample of workplaces over time, while measuring the utilization of health and safety practices by leaders and workers and behavioral outcomes of interest at the workplace and at worker levels. The interventions will focus on a measurable problem within the mining industry to assess the utility of the multilevel framework. Specifically, via MLIs that focus on workers’ actions to reduce respirable dust exposure, NIOSH researchers will analyze what and how health and safety practices influence worker perceptions of their organizations’ H&S values and how these perceptions impact their subsequent H&S behaviors.

Throughout the project case studies, interventions and longitudinal evaluations are being used to understand tangible methods that can bridge the safety/health interactions between workers and management, and improve the future implementation of organizations’ risk management processes. Specifically, four issues are being addressed as a result of this research, as described below.

(1) How technology and support from leadership impact workers’ health/safety behaviors, including those that lower exposure to dust.

For results to date, see these publications:

Infographics: Helping Mines Control Respirable Silica Dust

Selected Publications on EVADE Software, Helmet-CAM, Dust Exposure, and Behavioral Studies

Haas E and Helton J [2017]. How miners in low coal respond to the CPDM. Mining People Magazine, April/May Issue, pp 42 - 44.

Haas E and Colinet J [2018]. Miners implement corrective actions in response to CPDM dust data. Coal Age, 123(2):36–38.

(2) Aspects of safety climate that impacts workers’ perceptions of their organizations’ overall values that support an HSMS.

For results to date, see this publication:

Haas EJ, McGuire  J,  Hoebbel CL [2017]. Workplace perceptions of safety: What do your workers think about health and safety, why does it matter, and what can you do about it? Rock Products, May Issue, 26–27, 30, 32.

Haas EJ, Ryan M, Hoebbel CL [2018]. Job autonomy and safety climate: Examining associations in the mining industry. Professional Safety, December Issue, 30–34.

(3) Managers’ effective use of various risk management practices to facilitate workers’ health/safety performance.

For results to date, see these publications:

Haas E J [2018]. Applying the precaution adoption process model to the acceptance of mine safety and health technologies. Occupational Health Science 2(1):pp 43 – 66.

Haas EJ, Connor BP, Vendetti J, Heiser R [2018]. A case study exploring field-level risk assessments as a leading safety indicator. Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, Vol. 342, 22-28.

Rost KA, Willmer DR, Haas EJ [2015]. An operant analysis of leadership practices in mining. Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research 11(2):234-241.

(4) General practices to improve and maintain organizations’ tailoring of their own HSMS.

For results to date, see these publications:

Haas E J, Ryan M, Willmer DR [2018]. An examination of mining companies’ online health and safety policies: implications for improving risk management. Journal of Safety, Health and Environmental Research 14(1):337 – 347.

Haas EJ, Yorio PL [2016]. Exploring the state of health and safety management system performance measurement in mining organizations. Safety Science, 83, 48-58.

At the culmination of the project, data from the workplace and worker levels can be extrapolated to inform ways to monitor and improve organizational processes that facilitate a high-performing work system within mining.

Page last reviewed: 1/23/2019 Page last updated: 3/15/2018