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

Principal Investigator
Start Date10/1/2014

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.

At the end of each MLI case study, an evaluation will be used to answer how an intervention that targets and bridges the safety/health interactions between workers and management: (1) impacts workers’ health/safety behaviors, including those that lower exposure to dust; (2) impacts workers’ perceptions of their organizations’ overall values that support an HSMS; (3) impacts managers’ use of various risk management practices to facilitate workers’ health/safety performance; and (4) informs more general practices  to improve and maintain organizations’ tailoring of their own HSMS.

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.