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Determination of safe roof bolter speeds through computer simulation.

Bartels JR; Ambrose DH; Kwitowski AJ
NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, PA: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2003 Oct; :81
This paper is based on results of a study that determined the impact of roof bolting machine appendage speed on the likelihood of operators being hit, such as colliding with moving appendages. Researchers at the NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory performed this study to reduce workers' risks from exposure to moving appendages on underground mining machinery. Accident investigation reports do not usually contain enough information to aid in studying this problem, and laboratory experiments with human subjects are also not feasible because of safety issues. As an alternative, researchers developed a computer-based three-dimensional model and simulation approach as the primary means to gather data on mishaps. The computer simulation was augmented by a laboratory validation. Significant findings are presented on operator-machine hits as related to boom speed, operator size, seam height, operator response time, and risky behaviors. Collisions versus speed, operators' posture, and seam height were the most significant factors in the data obtained from the model. Relative importance of each factor was determined by prioritizing the factors by significance using statistical analysis. By simulating an operator's random behavior and the machine's appendage velocity, researchers can accurately identify hazards and use that information to form safe design parameters for mining equipment. Computer modeling and simulations provided an alternative and safe approach to data gathering in that there was no need for human subjects and logistics--test sites and costs associated with experiments. The use of this type of methodology--computer model and simulation--shows potential to conduct safety studies of other human-machine interaction situations.
Simulation methods; Underground mining; Mining equipment; Computer models; Hazards; Injury prevention; Accident prevention
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
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NOIRS 2003-Abstracts of the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium 2003, October 28-30, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division