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A story of impact: NIOSH light-emitting diode (LED) cap lamp improves illumination and decreases injury risk for underground miners.

Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-192, 2011 Aug; :1-2
Working in an underground mine presents many unique challenges. One significant challenge is providing adequate lighting for miners to work safely. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) identifies an underground coal mine as the most difficult environment in the world to illuminate, yet miners depend most heavily on vision to identify and avoid hazards as they navigate their work environment. Many of the higher frequency risks in mining are related to the challenge of inadequate lighting. This includes slip, trip, and fall (STF) hazards which can be more difficult to detect in low light: in 2007 there were 254 STF injuries among underground miners. Inadequate light can also prevent a miner from seeing an approaching machinery hazard; 31 miners were fatally pinned or crushed by machinery between 1983-2009. With increased age can come decreased visual abilities, particularly in low light environments. The average age of the mining workforce is 45 years; as the mining workforce ages, the need for effective underground lighting becomes even more pressing. Traditional mine lighting consists of a low level of background light, along with a high-intensity, yellow-tinted incandescent spot light from a miner's cap lamp or piece of machinery. This traditional method, with a narrow beam of bright light fixed in a single location, is not very adaptable to the variety of lighting needs that a miner may encounter. There is also a risk of decreased visibility from the glare of this spotlight. One study found 78% of test subjects complaining of glare from traditional lighting systems.
Mining-industry; Underground-miners; Underground-mining; Lighting; Lighting-systems; Coal-mining; Coal-miners; Miners; Coal-workers; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-practices
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Impact Sheet
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2011-192
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division