This is the logo of the National Mining Association Stay Alert initiative.

NIOSH Gives Safety in Mining a Boost

NIOSH said yesterday it has readied a computer-based training program to prepare the new generation of miners to read mine maps, which is critical for staying safe underground. NMA's "Safety First: Stay Alert" initiative has offered training materials to mine operators.

Heralding the achievement as the day "safety training for new miners enters the 21st century," NIOSH on Monday announced it has created a computer-based training program to teach young miners to read mine maps, which is "a critical skill in learning how to navigate the labyrinth of tunnels and to stay safe in underground mines," according to the agency. And there's more going on in mining safety:

  • A new competition will be unveiled at the 2010 National Metal and Nonmetal Mine Rescue Contest in Reno, Nev., combining the Apparatus Bench and Multi-gas Instrument Competitions into an overall mine rescue team preparation exercise.
  • In 2010, NIOSH celebrates the 100th anniversary of federally funded mine safety research in the United States, and NIOSH's Pittsburgh Research Lab will host a series of events during the year to commemorate the centennial. Visit this site for information.

This MSHA photo shows a coal miner working underground."Designed to be used in safety training courses that mine operators are required to provide by federal law, the program builds on the principle that young miners who have grown up with video games and other computer applications will find this kind of interactive, game-format training more engaging and more meaningful than traditional classroom lecture and instruction," the agency said in Monday's announcement, which said the program lets new miners navigate the twists, turns, and network of openings and tunnels of a mine in a realistic way.

"NIOSH is pleased to meet our stakeholders' needs for innovative safety training tools to serve a new generation of miners," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard. "By helping to keep miners safe, we help the U.S. mining industry and the mining workforce maintain their leadership in the competitive 21st Century global market."

The game is downloaded to the user's desktop. Upon opening it, the user assumes a first person role inside a "virtual" coal mine, with an unseen narrator giving voice commands about what to do as the game progresses. The user navigates using a color-coded mine map that opens on the desktop. The object of the game is for the user to locate specific tools in various parts of the mine and deliver them to a boss. Users will encounter other miners who share stories, offer instructions, and help the user stay on track. He or she will learn the locations for safety devices, including a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and breathing apparatus. A free download from this site, the game can be completed in about two hours.

NIOSH also said it is working on advanced training software that would include a program addressing the knowledge and skills necessary to evacuate a mine during an emergency; virtual reality scenarios that include multi-player options so that multiple trainees can enter the mine at the same time via networked computers and communicate possible solutions to one another; and programs that emulate actual safety tasks for miners underground, such as taking mine gas measurements, navigating smoke-filled passages, and donning a breathing apparatus.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022


      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue