Emily J. Haas and Cassandra L. Hoebbel, NIOSH, Pittsburgh Mining Research Division

Researchers traveled to various mine sites and administered a 59-question survey between February 2016 and March 2018. Participants consisted of 2,683 mineworkers — both salary and hourly — at 39 mine sites. Three of these mines were in Canada and the remaining 36 were dispersed throughout 17 states in the U.S. The 39 mines represented nine major companies and three mined commodities (i.e., coal, sand stone and gravel, and industrial minerals). To our knowledge, everyone who was present on site during data collection completed the survey. The breakdown of participation by commodity was stone, sand, and gravel (n=1,418, 53%); industrial minerals (n=907, 34%); and coal (n=358, 13%).

The results showed coal workers have significantly lower perceptions than those workers in other commodities. After qualitative debriefs with the mine sites and a better understanding of trends among various mined commodity sectors, NIOSH researchers discuss ways the coal industry can improve pieces of their health and safety management system to better support worker health and safety. Actionable results will be provided to mine management that they can integrate immediately into their risk management and measurement efforts.