$1.6 Million Grant Awarded for Mining Safety Training Program

Among other training methods, researchers will be developing training that uses "serious" computer games. These simulations will be designed to replicate a realistic mining environment, and mine workers using them will be put in dynamic situations where they can make decisions and see the consequences.

The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the UA Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources have received a $1.6 million federal grant to develop more effective mining safety training methods. The three-year grant is funded by NIOSH.

Among other training methods, researchers will be developing training that uses "serious" computer games. These simulations will be designed to replicate a realistic mining environment, and mine workers using them will be put in dynamic situations where they can make decisions and see the consequences.

The UA research team has worked on serious games for mining industry training before. The UA licensed an interactive training program developed at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources earlier this year.

For the NIOSH study, the UA team is partnering with McCraren Compliance, a Tucson-based company that provides mining and other occupational training safety services, the office of the Arizona State Mine Inspector, recipients of the Mine Safety and Health Administration grant, and other local and national mining companies and trainers to create a nationwide network to share best safety practices.

"Serious games allow a trainer to utilize the effectiveness of on-the-job training while not exposing the new miner to physical harm. Mistakes are life's greatest teachers, and with serious games new miners learn these lessons in a safe environment," said Glenna Smith, CMSP, safety professional at McCraren Compliance.

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