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The human element in mining - an overview of Bureau of Mines human factors research.

Peay-JM; Wiehagen-WJ; Bockosh-GR
Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Institute on Coal Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 28-30, 1984. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1984 Aug; :61-83
In 1910, the coal industry produced 501 million short tons and 2,821 miners lost their lives. In 1982, the industry produced 812 million short tons of coal and 115 miners were fatally injured. The greater portion of fatalities in 1910 were the results of mine explosions and fires which could generally be traced to methane or coal dust ignitions. These accidents often resulted in multiple fatalities with scores of miners being killed in one incident. Mine disasters still occur too often; today, however, most fatalities and serious injury accidents occur as single events and usually cannot be attributed to physical parameters of the work place. Several recent studies have pointed out that while fatalities continue to decline, commensurate progress has not been made in reducing serious lost-time mining injuries, and that a large percentage of industrial-type mining accidents are related to human performance. The same studies have also concluded that if additional progress is to be made in reducing mining accidents, the research emphasis must focus on the human element in the accident chain. Improved training, improved labor management cooperation, and greater consideration for the man-machine interface are major areas requiring attention. The solutions to many of these problems lie within the scope of human factors research. The Bureau of Mines has a well-established Human Factors research program which addresses most problems related to training and the man-machine environment interface. This paper describes the current status of that research program, the results to date, and its future direction.
Underground-mining; Room-and-pillar-mining; Longwall-mining; Coal-mining; Disaster-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Human-factors-engineering; Injury-prevention; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-research; Monitoring-systems
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Karmis M; Sutherland WH; Lucas JR; Forshey DR; Faulkner GJ
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Institute on Coal Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 28-30, 1984
Page last reviewed: March 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division