Mining Topic: Maintainability
What is the health and safety problem?
Although equipment manufacturers have made progress in enhancing maintainability, new advances of technology have made equipment more complex. These advances require more from the workers who maintain mining equipment, and additional training in maintaining complex systems is becoming more critical to workers performing their tasks safely.
What is the extent of the problem?
Maintenance activities on machinery account for about 30% of the injuries/fatalities in the underground coal mining industry. Stakeholders have recently voiced concerns over these types of accidents and expressed their desire to see investigations and efforts into reducing maintenance-related injuries.
How is the NIOSH Mining program addressing this problem?
The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) has been addressing maintainability issues by conducting numerous studies over the years that focus on machine design for maintenance. These issues include development of maintainability checklists, efforts to stress training and work procedures, examinations of the work environment, equipment, tools, and personal protective equipment.
What are the significant findings?
Results to decrease the frequency and severity of injuries to mine workers while performing maintenance activities have stressed mine worker training and work procedures, improved work environments and safety and environmental control equipment, improved personal protective equipment, improved equipment control and display design, enhanced lighting and visibility-related research, and organizational issues.
What are the next steps?
Future maintenance safety research by OMSHR will not only address issues and hazards that have been linked to many past injuries associated with equipment maintenance but will also address potential hazards from new technology. Examples will include research into lock-out/tag-out procedures and new technology that will improve monitoring and procedure compliance, as well as improved maintenance procedures and equipment design recommendations.
- Analyses of Mobile Equipment Fires for All U.S. Surface and Underground Coal and Metal/Nonmetal Mining Categories, 1990-1999
- Development of a Method for the Remote Characterization of Underground Mine Ventilation Control by Multiple Tracer Gases
- Development of Strength Criteria for Coal and Nonsedimentary Rock Masses and Investigation of Underground and Open Pit Mine Stability of Such Rock Masses
- Fall From Equipment Injuries in U.S. Mining: Identification of Specific Research Areas for Future Investigation
- Impact of Maintainability Design on Injury Rates and Maintenance Costs for Underground Mining Equipment
- Machine-Related Injuries in the US Mining Industry and Priorities for Safety Research
- Maintainability Design Checklist
- The Potential Impact of Light Emitting Diode Lighting on Reducing Mining Injuries During Operation and Maintenance of Lighting Systems
- Refuge Alternatives in Underground Coal Mines
- Safe and Economical Inerting of Sealed Mine Areas
- Technology News 535 - NIOSH Releases New Educational Video: Escape from Farmington No. 9: An Oral History
- Ultra-Low Frequency Through-the-Earth Communication Technology
- Wireless Mesh Mine Communication System
- Page last reviewed: 4/27/2015
- Page last updated: 9/22/2015
- Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Mining Program