What is the health and safety problem?

Mine safety and health professionals have long recognized training as a critical element of an effective safety and health program. Federal regulations require mine operators to provide initial safety and health training to all new mine workers, as well as a minimum of eight hours of refresher training each year. Specialty training is required for certain jobs, such as electricians, and for specific situations, such as working at a new task. Emergency preparedness and response training is also required. Thus, there is a strong and steady demand for new and improved training materials and methods.

How is the NIOSH Mining program addressing this problem?

The NIOSH Mining Program designs and conducts research studies to develop, evaluate, or improve upon materials and methods being used within the mining industry to train mine workers. The researchers work directly with safety and health professionals throughout the mining industry to assess training needs, develop targeted training techniques, and test new technologies. Once materials are developed, they are evaluated during mine safety and health classes, and trainees provide direct feedback on what materials and methods should be brought to the mining classroom.

What are the significant findings?

Teaching scene

Computer-based training for miners

NIOSH has a long history of providing tested mine safety and health training materials. These have been used in mines through the country and the world. Some have focused on specific topics, such as the needs of aging workforce (Age Awareness Training), and others on new methods/technologies, such as the computer-based Underground Coal Mine Map Reading Training. Materials for improving teaching skills have also been addressed. For example, Coaching Skills for On-the-Job Trainers is being used to provide workshops for mine workers who teach other mine workers at their worksites.

NIOSH’s mine safety and health training research has explored materials, methods, techniques, and technologies. Resulting publications, presentations, and training materials are contributing to improved training throughout the mining industry. The list below highlights some of our more noteworthy publications and products. For a list of all training exercises and supplies available on this web site, see the Mining Products page.

What are the next steps?

NIOSH is conducting research related to mine evacuation and mine rescue team knowledge and skills. This work will result in guidance for managers and trainers as they determine when and how to incorporate new training technologies and methods into their emergency response training programs.

Page last reviewed: December 10, 2020
Page last updated: October 7, 2014