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Visual needs evaluation of continuous miner operations

Mining Engineering , 2011, Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 53-59

Jobes, C.C.; Bartels, J.R.; DuCarme, J.P.; Lutz, T.J.


 Abstract n Operating large face equipment, such as continuous mining machines, is one of the most basic and most dangerous elements of an underground coal mining operation. The operator usually performs cutting and tramming tasks in a restricted workspace with reduced visibility. During the execution of these tasks, operators often cannot see all of the locations needed to safely operate the continuous mining machine (CM), which has sometimes resulted in accidents. In an effort to prevent these accidents, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, examined the continuous mining machine operator’s current information cues, or visual attention locations, so that risk of injury relative to the task, equipment and workplace environment can be evaluated in the future. The eventual goal is to develop interventions to enhance the information cues, and thereby increase the safety and health of machine operators. This paper details the operator interview process, determination of visual attention locations (VALs) and simulation of various mining scenarios.