Special Issue "Taking Health and Safety in the Mining Industry into the 21st Century - Innovative solutions to difficult problems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David Cliff (Website)

Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC), The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia
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

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As mining moves into the 21st century, developments in mining methods and the scale of mining present new challenges in the management of health and safety. The issues include the increased size of mining equipment, the higher degree of automation, and the increased use of remote control equipment. In addition to these physical issues there is increased stress being placed upon workers due to the shortage of suitably skilled staff, the ever increasing demands to improve productivity with less personnel and the increased expectations of the public for continued improvement in health and safety performance. The increasing development of mine sites necessitating long distance commuting, living in camps and flying or driving in and out at the end of each shift cycle also creates psychosocial pressures. Finally intermittent disasters sadly continue to occur despite many improvements in mining technology.

Prof. Dr. David Cliff
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • automation and safety
  • occupational Health
  • psychosocial health
  • fatigue and hours of work
  • commute mining/FIFO
  • physical fitness
  • drug and alcohol usage
  • disaster management and prevention
  • behaviour based safety
  • resilience and reliability
  • safety Management Systems

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Research Using Virtual Reality: Mobile Machinery Safety in the 21st Century
Minerals 2013, 3(2), 145-164; doi:10.3390/min3020145
Received: 25 January 2013 / Revised: 16 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 15 April 2013
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Abstract
Whole-body vibration is a significant health risk for between 4% and 7% of the work force in North America. In addition, many factors compound the health risks of heavy machinery operators. For example, twisted trunk and neck postures stiffen the spine and [...] Read more.
Whole-body vibration is a significant health risk for between 4% and 7% of the work force in North America. In addition, many factors compound the health risks of heavy machinery operators. For example, twisted trunk and neck postures stiffen the spine and increase the transmission of vibration to the head. Similarly, workers adopt awkward postures in order to gain appropriate lines of sight for machine operations. Although the relative contribution of these various issues can be evaluated in field studies and models, we propose that virtual reality is a powerful medium for investigating issues related to health and safety in mining machine operators. We have collected field data of posture and vibration, as well as visual environment, for a forklift operating in a warehouse. This paper describes the process and outcome of this field data collection, and provides a discussion on the next steps to develop and test the virtual reality model to enable laboratory testing. Our ongoing studies will evaluate the interplay between posture and vibration under conditions replicating routine heavy machinery operations, such as underground mining. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Safety Journey: Using a Safety Maturity Model for Safety Planning and Assurance in the UK Coal Mining Industry
Minerals 2013, 3(1), 59-72; doi:10.3390/min3010059
Received: 30 November 2012 / Revised: 30 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 February 2013 / Published: 18 February 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A Safety Maturity Model was developed for use in UK coal mining operations in order to assess the level of compliance and effectiveness with a recently introduced standards based safety management system. The developed model allowed for a “self-assessment” of the maturity [...] Read more.
A Safety Maturity Model was developed for use in UK coal mining operations in order to assess the level of compliance and effectiveness with a recently introduced standards based safety management system. The developed model allowed for a “self-assessment” of the maturity to be undertaken by teams from the individual sites. Assessments were undertaken at all sites (surface and underground) and in some cases within each site (e.g., underground operations, surface coal preparation plant). Once the level of maturity was established, improvement plans were developed to improve the maturity of individual standards that were weaker than the average and/or improve the maturity as a whole. The model was likened to a journey as there was a strong focus on continual improvement and effectiveness of the standards, rather than pure compliance. The model has been found to be a practical and useful tool by sites as a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses within their systems, and as a means of assurance with the safety management system standards. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparing Health Risks to Load-Haul-Dump Vehicle Operators Exposed to Whole-Body Vibration Using EU Directive 2002/44EC, ISO 2631-1 and ISO 2631-5
Minerals 2013, 3(1), 16-35; doi:10.3390/min3010016
Received: 12 December 2012 / Revised: 8 January 2013 / Accepted: 8 January 2013 / Published: 14 January 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (454 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate health risks to operators of large and small load-haul-dump (LHD) vehicles exposed to whole-body vibration (WBV), based on criteria established in ISO 2631-1, ISO 2631-5, and EU Directive 2002/44 EC. Studies simultaneously evaluating health [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate health risks to operators of large and small load-haul-dump (LHD) vehicles exposed to whole-body vibration (WBV), based on criteria established in ISO 2631-1, ISO 2631-5, and EU Directive 2002/44 EC. Studies simultaneously evaluating health risks based on all three standards are limited. Operator WBV exposure was measured in accordance with ISO 2631-1 using a tri-axial seat pad accelerometer. According to ISO 2631-1, four of the seven large LHD vehicle operators and three of six small LHD vehicle operators were exposed to WBV above the 8-hour vibration dose value (VDV) health guidance caution zone (HGCZ). According to the EU Directive 2002/44/EC criteria one of the seven large LHD vehicle operators and one of the six small LHD vehicle operators were exposed to WBV above the VDV daily exposure limit. However, health risks predicted by ISO 2631-5 criteria only placed one of seven large LHD vehicle operators and one of the six small LHD vehicle operators in the high probability of an adverse health effect category. Thus, the probability of adverse health effects, associated with WBV exposure during LHD vehicle operation, is suggested to be greatest based on the ISO 2631-1 8-hour VDV HGCZ and lowest based on ISO 2631-5 Sed criterion values. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of Sludge Amendment on Remediation of Metal Contaminated Soils
Minerals 2012, 2(4), 473-492; doi:10.3390/min2040473
Received: 24 October 2012 / Revised: 16 November 2012 / Accepted: 20 November 2012 / Published: 28 November 2012
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Abstract
Column-leaching and pilot-scale experiments were conducted to evaluate the use of biosolids (sewage sludges) to control the mobilization of metals from contaminated soils with smelting slags. The pilot-scale experiments using amended soils showed that Cu, Pb and Sb were retained, decreasing their [...] Read more.
Column-leaching and pilot-scale experiments were conducted to evaluate the use of biosolids (sewage sludges) to control the mobilization of metals from contaminated soils with smelting slags. The pilot-scale experiments using amended soils showed that Cu, Pb and Sb were retained, decreasing their concentrations from 250 mg/L, 80 mg/L and 6 mg/L, respectively in the leachates of contaminated soils, to <20 mg/L, 40 mg/L and 4 mg/L, respectively, in the amended material. Hydrogeochemical modeling of the leachates using Minteq revealed that the degree of complexation of Cu rose 56.3% and 57.6% in leachates of amended soils. Moreover, Cu may be immobilized by biosolids, possibly via adsorption by oxyhydroxides of Fe or sorption by organic matter. The partial retention of Pb coincides with the possible precipitation of chloropyromorphite, which is the most stable mineral phase in the pH-Eh conditions of the leachates from the amended material. The retention of Sb may be associated with the precipitation of Sb2O3, which is the most stable mineral phase in the experimental conditions. The organic amendments used in this study increased some metal and metalloid concentrations in the leachates (Fe, Mn, Ni, As and Se), which suggests that the organic amendments could be used with caution to remediate metal contaminated areas. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Forensic Assessment of Metal Contaminated Rivers in the 21st Century Using Geochemical and Isotopic Tracers
Minerals 2013, 3(2), 192-246; doi:10.3390/min3020192
Received: 1 March 2013 / Revised: 25 April 2013 / Accepted: 26 April 2013 / Published: 16 May 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3443 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Documentation of contaminant source and dispersal pathways in riverine environments is essential to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of contaminants on human and ecosystem health, and is required from a legal perspective (particularly where the polluter pays principle is in effect) in [...] Read more.
Documentation of contaminant source and dispersal pathways in riverine environments is essential to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of contaminants on human and ecosystem health, and is required from a legal perspective (particularly where the polluter pays principle is in effect) in assessing site liability. Where multiple natural and/or anthropogenic sources exist, identification of contaminant provenance has proven problematic, and estimated contributions from a specific source are often the subject of judicial debate. The past, current, and future use of geochemical and isotopic tracers in environmental forensic investigations of contaminant provenance, transport, and fate are analyzed herein for sediment-associated trace metals in riverine environments, particularly trace metals derived from mining and refining operations. The utilized methods have evolved significantly over the past four decades. Of primary significance has been the growing integration of geomorphic and stratigraphic techniques with the use of an increasing number of geochemical tracers including stable isotopes. The isotopes of Pb have been particularly well studied, and have been applied to a wide range of environmental media. Advances in analytical chemistry since the early 1990s have allowed for the precise characterization of other non-traditional stable isotopic systems within geological materials. The potential for using these non-traditional isotopes as tracers in river systems has yet to be adequately explored, but a number of these isotopes (e.g., Cd, Cu, Cr, Hg, Sb, and Zn) show considerable promise. Moreover, some of these isotopes (e.g., those of Cu, Cr, and Hg) may provide important insights into biogeochemical cycling processes within aquatic environments. This review suggests that future environmental forensic investigations will be characterized by an interdisciplinary approach that combines the use of multiple geochemical tracers with detailed stratigraphic, geomorphic, and hydrologic data, thereby yielding results that are likely to withstand the scrutiny of judicial review. Full article
Open AccessReview The Health and Safety Benefits of New Technologies in Mining: A Review and Strategy for Designing and Deploying Effective User-Centred Systems
Minerals 2012, 2(4), 417-425; doi:10.3390/min2040417
Received: 28 September 2012 / Revised: 15 October 2012 / Accepted: 19 October 2012 / Published: 31 October 2012
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mining is currently experiencing a rapid growth in the development and uptake of automation and other new technologies (such as collision detection systems); however, they are often developed from a technology-centred perspective that does not explicitly consider the end-user. This paper first [...] Read more.
Mining is currently experiencing a rapid growth in the development and uptake of automation and other new technologies (such as collision detection systems); however, they are often developed from a technology-centred perspective that does not explicitly consider the end-user. This paper first presents a review of the technologies currently available (or near-market) and the likely human factors issues associated with them. The second part of the paper presents a potential long term strategy for research and development that aims to maximise the safety and health benefits for operators of such new technologies. The strategy includes a four stage research and development process, this covers: better understanding the needs for technology, user requirements and risk/cost analysis; human element design, procurement and deployment processes; evaluation and verification of the strategy; and dissemination of it to relevant stakeholders (including equipment manufacturers, mine site purchasers and regulators). The paper concludes by stressing the importance of considering the human element with respect to new mining technologies and the likely benefits of adopting the type of strategy proposed here. The overall vision is for mining to become safer and healthier through effective user-centred design and deployment of new technologies that serve both operator needs and the demands of the workplace. Full article

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