Special Issue "Safety & Health in Mining"

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A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (14 January 2011)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Robert Larry Grayson

Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 103A Hosler Building, State College, PA 16802, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 1-814-863-1644
Interests: mine safety and health; risk management; underground mining; coal mining methods and management
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David Cliff

Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC), The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Phone: int61733464086
Fax: +61 7 3346 4067
Interests: spontaneous combustion; fires; explosions; gas analysis; emergency preparedness; incident management; hours of work and OHS; occupational hygiene; fatigue; fitness for duty; coal mine fires; respirable dust; noise; occupational health and safety in mining
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Michael K. McCarter

College of Mines and Earth Sciences, Department of Mining Engineering, The University of Utah, 135 S. 1460 East Room 313, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mining induced seismicity; monitoring of pillar stress; location of trapped miners; slope stability; monitoring of unstable slopes
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Arthur L. Frank

Drexel University, School of Public Health, 245 N. 15th Street, Mail Stop 1034, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: pneumoconiosis; silicosis; CWP; safety; worker education; medical surveillance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this special issue is to put the spotlight on health and safety in mining. Recent tragic events have reinforced the need for all mining professionals to reaffirm their commitment to improving health and safety. This issue will focus on the major issues facing the mining industry of the 21st century and look to solutions for these issues. Clearly there is a need to improve the management of major hazards such as fire, explosion and ground control. Equally chronic problems relating to occupational health, such as dust, noise and chemical exposure should not be forgotten. In addition we should not forget the many thousands of injuries that occur particularly strains, sprains and dislocations and find better ways to prevent them. Other areas of research needs go beyond the technical scientific disciplines and would assess the processes for managing these hazards and the role of the regulator in encouraging better performance.

Prof. Dr. Robert Larry Grayson
Prof. Dr. David Cliff
Prof. Dr. Michael K. McCarter
Prof. Dr. Arthur L. Frank
Guest Editors

Keywords

  • emergency management
  • hazard management
  • occupational health issues and management
  • accident/injury prevention
  • measuring safety performance - lead, lag and positive measures
  • the role of government - compliance and enforcement
  • occupational health and safety management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle EDEEP—An Innovative Process for Improving the Safety of Mining Equipment
Minerals 2012, 2(4), 272-282; doi:10.3390/min2040272
Received: 10 September 2012 / Revised: 21 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 15 October 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (455 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fifteen multi-national mining companies are currently members of the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT). Formed in 2006, EMESRT engages with mining equipment manufacturers with the aim of accelerating improvements in the safe design of mining equipment. An initial stage in this
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Fifteen multi-national mining companies are currently members of the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT). Formed in 2006, EMESRT engages with mining equipment manufacturers with the aim of accelerating improvements in the safe design of mining equipment. An initial stage in this process was to communicate industry understanding of the risks in the form of “design philosophies” that describe potential unwanted events in eight hazard categories. A technique for analysing risks associated with operation and maintenance tasks, the Operability and Maintainability Analysis Technique (OMAT), was subsequently developed and trialed. The next step is the EMESRT Design Evaluation for Equipment Procurement (EDEEP) process. The aims of requesting manufacturers to follow this process are to provide equipment purchasers with a common way of assessing how well the issues in the EMESRT Design Philosophies are addressed in the equipment design; and to provide manufacturers with additional information for use during equipment design. The process involves identifying priority tasks based on frequency and severity of the consequences of potential unwanted events identified in the EMESRT Design Philosophies; undertaking a task-based risk assessment of priority tasks in conjunction with site-based personnel; evaluating the effectiveness of control measures; and providing information about safe design features in a standardised format. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
Open AccessArticle Psycho-Social Issues in Mine Emergencies: The Impact on the Individual, the Organization and the Community
Minerals 2012, 2(2), 129-168; doi:10.3390/min2020129
Received: 12 April 2012 / Revised: 15 May 2012 / Accepted: 17 May 2012 / Published: 11 June 2012
PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper draws on research conducted in the past two decades examining issues related to the human element in mine disasters. While much of the emergency response community employs a systems approach that takes into account psychosocial issues as they impact all aspects
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This paper draws on research conducted in the past two decades examining issues related to the human element in mine disasters. While much of the emergency response community employs a systems approach that takes into account psychosocial issues as they impact all aspects of an emergency, the mining industry has lagged behind in integrating this critical element. It is only within the past few years that behavioral interventions have begun to be seen as a part of disaster readiness and resiliency in the industry. The authors discuss the potential applications of psychosocial studies and suggest ways to improve mine emergency planning, psychological support, and decision-making during a response, as well as actions in the aftermath of incidents. Topics covered, among others, include an economic rationale for including such studies in planning a mine emergency response, sociological issues as they impact such things as leadership and rescue team dynamics, and psychological issues that have an effect on individual capacity to function under stress such as during escape, in refuge alternatives, and in body recovery. This information is intended to influence the mine emergency escape curriculum and impact actions and decision-making during and after a mine emergency. The ultimate goal is to mitigate the trauma experienced by individuals, the organization, and the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
Open AccessArticle Human Biomonitoring Data from Mercury Exposed Miners in Six Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining Areas in Asia and Africa
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 122-143; doi:10.3390/min1010122
Received: 26 September 2011 / Revised: 16 November 2011 / Accepted: 22 November 2011 / Published: 30 November 2011
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (348 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objectives: In artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) areas in many developing countries, mercury (Hg) is used to extract gold from ore. Data of 1250 participants from Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe were combined to analyze the relation between exposure in ASGM
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Objectives: In artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) areas in many developing countries, mercury (Hg) is used to extract gold from ore. Data of 1250 participants from Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe were combined to analyze the relation between exposure in ASGM areas and body burden. Methods: Four groups were selected relating to their intensity of contact with mercury: (i) a non-exposed control group; (ii) a low exposed group with participants only living in mining areas, but not working as miners; (iii) a medium exposed group, miners living in exposed areas and working with mercury without smelting amalgam; and (iv) a high exposed group, miners living in exposed areas and smelting amalgam. Results: Compared to the non-exposed control group, participants living and/ or miners working in highly exposed areas have significantly higher concentration of total mercury in urine, hair and blood (p-value < 0.001). The median mercury value in urine in the control group is < 0.2 µg/L. In the high exposed group of amalgam smelters, the median in urine is 12.0 µg/L. The median in blood in the control group is < 0.93 µg/L. The median level in blood of the high exposed group is 7.56 µg/L. The median for mercury in hair samples from the control group is 0.21 µg/g. In the high exposed group the median hair concentration is 2.4 µg/g hair. Mercury levels also differ considerably between the countries, reflecting a diverse background burden due to different fish eating habits and different work place methods. Conclusions: A high percentage of exposed individuals had levels above threshold values. These high levels of mercury are likely to be related with serious health problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
Open AccessArticle Gait Characteristics Associated with Trip-Induced Falls on Level and Sloped Irregular Surfaces
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 109-121; doi:10.3390/min1010109
Received: 24 August 2011 / Revised: 30 September 2011 / Accepted: 15 November 2011 / Published: 23 November 2011
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Same level falls continue to contribute to an alarming number of slip/trip/fall injuries in the mining workforce. The objective of this study was to investigate how walking on different surface types and transverse slopes influences gait parameters that may be associated with a
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Same level falls continue to contribute to an alarming number of slip/trip/fall injuries in the mining workforce. The objective of this study was to investigate how walking on different surface types and transverse slopes influences gait parameters that may be associated with a trip event. Gait analysis was performed for ten subjects on two orientations (level and sloped) on smooth, hard surface (control) and irregular (gravel, larger rocks) surfaces. Walking on irregular surfaces significantly increased toe clearance compared to walking on the smooth surface. There was a significant (p < 0.05) decrease in cadence (steps/min), stride length (m), and speed (m/s) from control to gravel to larger rocks. Significant changes in external rotation and increased knee flexion while walking on irregular surfaces were observed. Toe and heel clearance requirements increased on irregular surfaces, which may provide an explanation for trip-induced falls; however, the gait alterations observed in the experienced workers used as subjects would likely improve stability and recovery from a trip. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Soil Quality in Areas Affected by Sulfide Mining. Application to Soils in the Iberian Pyrite Belt (SW Spain)
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 73-108; doi:10.3390/min1010073
Received: 1 September 2011 / Revised: 21 October 2011 / Accepted: 25 October 2011 / Published: 7 November 2011
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The characterization, evaluation and remediation of polluted soils is one of the present environmental challenges to be addressed in the coming years. The origin of trace elements in soils can be either geogenic or anthropogenic, but only the latter is interesting from a
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The characterization, evaluation and remediation of polluted soils is one of the present environmental challenges to be addressed in the coming years. The origin of trace elements in soils can be either geogenic or anthropogenic, but only the latter is interesting from a legal point of view. The hazard of the pollutants in the soils not only depends on their total concentration, but particularly on their availability. The mobility of the trace elements depends on their speciation, and it is also affected by several soil parameters. Mining activity is one of the most important anthropogenic causes of soil pollution. As a case study, this work is focused in the Riotinto mining area (Iberian Pyrite Belt, IPB, SW Spain). The IPB is one of the most important metallogenic provinces in the world and it has been exploited for thousands of years. The disposal of mining residues has produced important sources of contamination by trace elements and acidic waters affecting soils and rivers. In addition to these problems, the closure of mines in the Pyrite Belt at the end of the 20th Century has led to a great loss of employment, which has caused the development of an intensive agriculture of citrus fruits as a new source of income. The intensive growing of citrus fruits and the traditional subsistence agriculture have been developed surrounding the mining areas and on floodplains near to mining sites. The level of soil pollution has not been taken into account in these cases, nor has its impact on the health of the inhabitants of these areas. Therefore, it is of great interest to study the current state of the cultivated soils and the sources and types of contaminants derived from mining activity in order to program its decontamination, where appropriate, according to legislation. In order to know the present and future hazard posed by the soils chemical and mineralogical speciation has been carried out, given that the availability of a metal depends on the phase in which it is found. The results showed that mining activity has caused high levels of As, Cu, Pb and Zn in several cultivated soils. Moreover, Cu, Pb and Zn showed a high bioavailability. This suggests that at least other studies are necessary to preserve health in the inhabitants of this area. The methodology carried out in this work allowed to select potentially polluted areas where agricultural activities are not recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
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Open AccessArticle Mental Health, Cardiovascular Disease and Declining Economies in British Columbia Mining Communities
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 30-48; doi:10.3390/min1010030
Received: 1 September 2011 / Revised: 3 October 2011 / Accepted: 21 October 2011 / Published: 28 October 2011
PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between community-level exposure to changes in economic conditions and the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders and cardiovascular disease in 29 resource-based communities (with a focus on mining communities) in British Columbia (BC)
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between community-level exposure to changes in economic conditions and the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders and cardiovascular disease in 29 resource-based communities (with a focus on mining communities) in British Columbia (BC) during a period of time marked by an economic downturn (1991–2002) The investigation relied on Labour Force Survey (LFS) and Statistics Canada Census data, and health records from the British Columbia Ministry of Health (MoH). Age and sex adjusted prevalence and incidence rates were calculated for each community from 1991 to 2002 and the development of an economic change indicator defined using Census data and industry/government documents allowed for yearly assessment of community-level exposure to economic conditions. The relationship between exposure to economic change and rates of acute and chronic cardiovascular disease and mental disorders across the 29 study communities was investigated using a generalized linear model (stratified by type of community, and adjusted for the effect of the community). Findings indicate an impact on the prevalence rates for acute cardiovascular disease (CVD) during periods of economic decline (rate increased by 13.1 cases per 1,000 population, p < 0.0001 as compared with stable periods) and bust conditions (rate increased by 30.1 cases per 1,000 population, p < 0.0001 as compared with stable conditions) and mental disorders (rate increased by 13.2 cases per 1,000 population, p = 0.0001) in mining communities during declining economic conditions as compared to steady periods of mining employment. This is not observed in other resource-based communities. The paper concludes by highlighting implications for the mining industry to consider as they begin to recognize and commit to mining community health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)
Open AccessArticle Integration of OHS into Risk Management in an Open-Pit Mining Project in Quebec (Canada)
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 3-29; doi:10.3390/min1010003
Received: 8 August 2011 / Revised: 5 September 2011 / Accepted: 14 September 2011 / Published: 22 September 2011
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite undeniable progress, the mining industry remains the scene of serious accidents revealing disregard for occupational health and safety (OHS) and leaving open the debate regarding the safety of its employees. The San José mine last collapse near Copiapó, Chile on 5 August
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Despite undeniable progress, the mining industry remains the scene of serious accidents revealing disregard for occupational health and safety (OHS) and leaving open the debate regarding the safety of its employees. The San José mine last collapse near Copiapó, Chile on 5 August 2010 and the 69-day rescue operation that followed in order to save 33 miners trapped underground show the serious consequences of neglecting worker health and safety. The aim of this study was to validate a new approach to integrating OHS into risk management in the context of a new open-pit mining project in Quebec, based on analysis of incident and accident reports, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and collaborative field observations. We propose a new concept, called hazard concentration, based on the number of hazards and their influence. This concept represents the weighted fraction of each category of hazards related to an undesirable event. The weight of each category of hazards is calculated by AHP, a multicriteria method. The proposed approach included the creation of an OHS database for facilitating expert risk management. Reinforcing effects between hazard categories were identified and all potential risks were prioritized. The results provided the company with a rational basis for choosing a suitable accident prevention strategy for its operational activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)

Review

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Open AccessReview Sleep and Heat Related Changes in the Cognitive Performance of Underground Miners: A Possible Health and Safety Concern
Minerals 2011, 1(1), 49-72; doi:10.3390/min1010049
Received: 1 September 2011 / Accepted: 26 October 2011 / Published: 2 November 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This review describes some of the literature pertaining to sleep deprivation, shift working, and heat exposure. Consequences of each on human cognitive function, particularly with respect to vigilance and attentional capacity are reviewed. Individually, each of these factors is known to impair human
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This review describes some of the literature pertaining to sleep deprivation, shift working, and heat exposure. Consequences of each on human cognitive function, particularly with respect to vigilance and attentional capacity are reviewed. Individually, each of these factors is known to impair human cognition; however, we propose the possibility that for miners working in hot underground environments and who are assigned to rotating shifts, the combination may leave miners with significant degrees of fatigue and decreased ability to focus on tasks. We suggest that such decreased capacity for vigilance is a source of concern in an occupational health and safety context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety & Health in Mining)

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