Mining Project: Escape, Rescue, and Training

Principal Investigator
Start Date 10/1/2016

To contribute to improving the health and safety of miners by providing support for the NIOSH Mining Program and the mining industry in the areas of workplace training and emergency response.

Topic Areas

Research Summary

To improve the safety and health of mine workers, the NIOSH Mining Program has dedicated resources supporting escape and rescue activities and workplace training. The Escape, Rescue, and Training team works to improve the capabilities of miners to perform work and emergency response tasks while staying healthy and safe.

The team addresses the following recommendation from the 2007 National Academies’ review of mining safety and health research at NIOSH: “The Mining Program should place greater emphasis on outputs preferred by mining operators, miners, and other nontechnical users.” The review also addresses concerns for enhanced escape and rescue activities that were voiced after a series of serious mine emergencies resulted in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. While major emergencies occur infrequently, preparedness must be an ongoing effort to mitigate the effect of any such future events. Accordingly, the Escape, Rescue, and Training team provides support for research and translational activities to help prepare miners for routine work tasks and emergency response situations. The work of the team falls in the following areas:

  1. Supporting Mining Program escape, rescue, and training efforts.
  2. Creating training interventions and introducing them to the industry.
  3. Seeking and sharing mine escape and rescue improvements.

Stakeholders frequently request training products and guidance from NIOSH, with a long history of adoption by the industry. This project provides leadership in the development of translational training interventions that most effectively disseminate health and safety research and technology information.

The project assists Mining Program staff in communicating health and safety research findings to customers and stakeholders including mine operators, labor unions, enforcement agencies, industry associations, rank-and-file miners, and the general public. To achieve this goal, the project team (1) collaborates with research staff to translate findings from laboratory and/or field research to produce training products that motivate the mining sector to engage in improved injury control and disease prevention activities; (2) coordinates occupational safety and health training dissemination activities within NIOSH and between other agencies, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration, to ensure that mining research information is effectively integrated via NIOSH dissemination and intervention strategies; and (3) serves as the focal point for activities related to emergency response, especially escape and rescue capabilities. The overarching project goal is to facilitate the mining industry’s adoption of new research findings and products developed by NIOSH through training interventions.

The following activities occur constantly and continually throughout the lifespan of the project:

  • Development of high-quality training products for the mining industry.
  • Development of guidance and recommendations for effective training approaches, methodologies, and technologies for the mining industry.
  • Consultation with project Principal Investigators to determine opportunities for the development of training.
  • Support for Mining Program webinars designed to train stakeholders and share research results.
  • Continued work on activities designed to improve mine escape and rescue capabilities in the mining industry.

The impact of this project will be measured by monitoring the use of NIOSH-produced training products, adoption of NIOSH-recommended training methodologies, and implementation of new rescue and escape practices through surveillance and ongoing interactions with stakeholders. Additionally, NIOSH will monitor website hits, frequency of accepted and invited presentations, and evidence of stakeholder support for future NIOSH training, escape, and rescue activities.

Page last reviewed: November 3, 2021
Page last updated: September 22, 2020