NIOSH Proposes Survey of Coal Mines' Safety Culture

NIOSH has outlined a two-year proposed project to find ways to elevate the safety culture of America's coal mines. Explained in a March 31 Federal Register notice, the project would involve surveys, observations, interviews, and other collections of data at six underground coal mines to assess their current culture.

The agency asked for public comments within 60 days on whether the proposal will be useful and how to ensure the collected information is highly useful. The notice says 1,080 surveys and interviews would be conducted. The only cost to the participating mine personnel would be their time.

"In recent years, coal mining safety has attained national attention due to highly publicized disasters," the notice states. "Despite these threats to worker safety and health, the U.S. relies on coal mining to meet its electricity needs. For this reason, the coal mining industry must continue to find ways to protect its workers while maintaining productivity. One way to do so is through improving the safety culture at coal mines. In order to achieve this culture, operators, employees, the inspectorate, etc. must share a fundamental commitment to it as a value. This type of culture is known in other industries as a 'safety culture' and can be defined as the characteristics of the work environment, such as the norms, rules, and common understandings that influence facility personnel's perceptions of the importance that the organization places on safety."

For more information about the proposal or a copy of the data collection plans, call 404-639-5960. Send comments to Maryam I. Daneshvar, CDC Acting Reports Clearance Officer, 1600 Clifton Road, MS-D74, Atlanta, GA 30333 or send an e-mail to omb@cdc.gov.

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