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Successes in research to practice from the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research.

Randolph-RF; Matetic-RJ; Thompson-JK; Snyder-DP; Goodman-GR; Potts-DJ; Barczak-TM
Best Practices for Health and Safety Technology Transfer in Construction, May 30 - June 1, 2012, Silver Spring, Maryland. Silver Spring, MD: CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, 2012 May; :14-17
Mining has long been one of the most hazardous occupations, but technologies from NIOSH research have led to marked improvements. Miners now have devices to make their machines quieter, identify and avoid hazardous dust, communicate throughout the mine to survive emergencies, and render potentially explosive atmospheres safely inert. These technologies are the most recent examples of a series of innovations that are being generated by NIOSH's Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR). The Office has established world-class research and development capabilities for every major health and safety hazard in mining. Just as important is the Office's research to practice (r2p) initiative that facilitates the transition of technologies from scientific concepts to laboratory prototypes and, finally, to products and solutions miners use every day. Transferring technologies to benefit miners is an integral part of the OMSHR mission to eliminate mining fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through research and prevention. The prevention aspect of this mission depends on ensuring that the research solutions are implemented in practice. At OMSHR, this is being done systematically by identifying the most important health and safety hazards, performing research and development of solutions, partnering with manufacturers to commercialize the solutions, and verifying that the solutions are effective. OMSHR's recent successes addressing hazardous noise illustrate how this process works. The prevalence of hazardous noise from mining machines has resulted in over 80% of miners becoming hearing impaired by the time they retire. NIOSH has long advocated engineering controls that eliminate noise sources or isolate workers from noise as the most effective solution. Although earplugs and other hearing protection devices had been the dominant solution for mining noise, in 1999 NIOSH initiated a concentrated research effort to develop engineering controls for mining machines. Also, engineering noise controls are now required wherever feasible under a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulation that was put into effect in 2000. NIOSH is systematically addressing noise in each sector of the mining industry, and underground coal miners benefit directly from NIOSH noise controls. When first beginning to develop engineering noise controls, NIOSH convened a stakeholder committee consisting of representatives from mining companies, labor unions, machinery manufacturers, and regulatory agencies. This Noise Committee and NIOSH reviewed the noise surveillance data and identified continuous mining machines and roof bolting machines as the primary sources of noise overexposures to underground coal miners.
Mining-industry; Safety-measures; Safety-equipment; Injury-prevention; Injuries; Mortality-rates; Morbidity-rates; Risk-factors; Hazards; Noise; Noise-control; Noise-levels; Noise-protection; Engineering-controls; Machine-operation; Mining-equipment; Underground-mining; Coal-mining
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Best Practices for Health and Safety Technology Transfer in Construction, May 30 - June 1, 2012
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division