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NIOSH Program Portfolio



NORA Construction Sector Strategic Goals

927ZAYG - Human Factors Design for Mine Equipment and Supplies

Start Date: 10/1/2007
End Date: 9/30/2010

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Patrick Dempsey
Phone: 412-386-6480
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: PRL
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed

Attributed to Construction

Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is to reduce injury risk related to the design of mining equipment. Design guidelines, based on ergonomics principles and tested in the laboratory and field, will be developed and provided to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Training will be developed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to OEMs so they can better meet the needs of their customers, the mining industry. Specific equipment studied in this project include: bolter controls, dragline workstations and controls (joysticks), haul trucks and loaders. Project tasks support the need for OEMs and mining companies to have a mutual understanding of the effects of poor design on the health and safety of mine workers as well as the need to provide specific human factors design guidelines to OEMs.


The purpose of this project is to reduce the risk of injuries related to design features of mining equipment. The methodology that will be followed for this project will include close collaboration with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and mine companies. Specific issues that will be investigated are (1) roof bolter controls – effects of layout, location/shape/length coding, and directional control-response compatibility on error and reaction time; (2) dragline controls (joysticks) – effects of force requirements, throw distance, and handle shape/size on physiological and biomechanical responses; (3) dragline workstations – adjustability of components and prevention of cumulative injuries; and (4) haul trucks and loaders - whole body vibration exposures and control measures. When possible, validated off-the-shelf solutions will be considered. Designs options will be tested with lab studies and then evaluated in the field. Collaborators will include Southern Illinois University, Rio Tinto, Vulcan Materials Company, Florida Rock, Prairie Mines, Caterpillar, JH Fletcher Company and the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Center, University of Queensland. The results will be communicated to the mining industry and to OEMs with presentations, workshops, conferences and publications.


The objectives of this project are to improve the design of mine equipment controls and workstations through the application of human factors design principles, and to reduce the risk of acute and cumulative injuries by providing mine equipment manufacturers/supplies with design guidelines and training developed from the laboratory and field studies. Meeting these objectives will result in:

•OEMs applying design guidelines to the manufacturing of their equipment.

•Mining companies establishing purchase specifications incorporating these guidelines.

•OEMs addressing issues related to inadequate design by applying ergonomics principles.

Page last updated:April 24, 2013
Page last reviewed:May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director


NIOSH Program:


construction worker, crane, architect