NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Dangerous opportunity: themes of change.

Graham RL
Proceedings of the 26th Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, August 28-30, 1995, Blacksburg, Virginia. Tinney G, Bacho A, Karmis M, eds., Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1995 Aug; :3-7
From 80 to 90 percent of all mine accidents have human error as a causal factor. We need to understand why miners take unnecessary risks, find more effective ways to encourage self-protective behavior, and identify those areas where technological innovation can help eliminate the "paybacks" that motivate workers to ignore basic safety rules. Many miners are injured because they are not able to identify hazards. We're working on training techniques to enhance hazard recognition skills. As the mining environment becomes more complicated, computer-based simulations will be needed to predict hazards and prepare miners to respond safely. Workers at small mines and operations run by independent contractors suffer a disproportionate share of fatalities. Many hypotheses exist, but we need scientific investigations to pinpoint the problems and potential solutions. Detailed analyses to determine the actual causes for this phenomenon will help target future research and training efforts. . We're also looking at the problems involved when workers and machines come together. The human/machine interface practices in mining do not routinely apply state-of-the-art ergonomic principles. Ergonomics studies and new machine designs promise to improve the "fit" between miners, their jobs, and equipment. We face similar challenges in the area of disaster prevention. Methane control technology developed by the Bureau in the '70s and '80s can't cope with the methane emission levels found in high-production mines operating in deep, gassy coalbeds. We're focusing now on determining the fundamental engineering and geologic factors that influence methane emissions. We're working on ways to prevent mine fires and explosions and ways to help miners escape in emergencies. Reliable detection of fires in mines using diesel equipment is a particular concern. New survival and escape issues are emerging. As mines get deeper and panels larger, escape from the mine will take more time and be more stressful for miners and life-support apparatus. Better planning for escape operations and better self-rescuers are needed to protect miners in new work environments. These research efforts should make a real contribution to the solution of mine health and safety problems. The changes we're making in the agency as a whole position us to help the industry and the Nation with other vital problems-problems that include environmental remediation, pollution prevention, materials conservation, and resource management.
Safety-practices; Safety-monitoring; Mining-industry; Safety-programs; Safety-research; Miners; Accident-prevention; Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Injury-prevention
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Tinney G; Bacho A; Karmis M
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the 26th Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, August 28-30, 1995, Blacksburg, Virginia
Page last reviewed: October 1, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division