Mining Project: Develop Mining Fatigue Model and Management System

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Principal Investigator
Start Date 2/14/2017
End Date 9/30/2018

To characterize mineworker fatigue by developing a preliminary model and management system recommendations using a human factors systems approach, accounting for factors contributing to fatigue and negative health and safety outcomes resulting from fatigue.

Research Summary

Many miners are exposed to shiftwork-related fatigue, but no U.S. industry standard is in place to easily identify common risk factors, deliver effective training, or support the development of a fatigue management system that could be used to mitigate injuries due to worker fatigue. Currently, no science-based, actionable recommendations for fatigue management at U.S. mines exist, and an authority is needed to lead important discussions and policy-making decisions on mineworker fatigue.

This pilot project had two research aims:

  1. To develop a theoretical model of how fatigue can lead to illness and injury in mining. An exploratory inductive method combining literature review and archival on-hand data was used to investigate links between fatigue and predictors and outcomes on a systems level.
  2. To develop recommendations for a preliminary mining fatigue management system. Using the first research aim as a guide, a literature search was conducted for primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions that can target various predictors and outcomes of fatigue.

As a pilot project, the current effort laid a foundation for a five-year project proposal entitled Mining Applications of Novel Interventions for Fatigue--Evaluating Safety Toolkits (MANIFEST), the culmination of which has the potential to impact industry through adoption of NIOSH-recommended fatigue management systems, strategies, and interventions, reducing worker fatigue and fatigue-related workplace injuries and illnesses. With the pilot project outlining a fatigue model and fatigue management system, and the follow-on project systematically evaluating the effectiveness of various components of this management system (including return-on-investment, ability to reduce fatigue, etc.), the aim is to provide the mining industry with some much-needed tools for alleviating fatigue-related health and safety issues through concrete research-to-practice solutions and scientific validation.

While the pilot project made large gains in identifying research and practice gaps when it comes to mitigating mineworker fatigue, the full five-year project has taken the mantle in continuing to synthesize existent policy statements and research findings as a basis for future interventions aimed at improving sleep and fatigue issues among miners.

Page last reviewed: April 2, 2019
Page last updated: April 2, 2019