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Operating speed assessments of underground mining equipment

Mining Engineering , 2010, Vol. 62, No. 3, pp. 39-39

Ducarme, J.P.; Kwitowski, A.J.; Bartels, J.R.


Numerous fatal/nonfatal accidents involving underground workers struck by powered machinery occur yearly, with continuous miners and roof bolters involved in the majority of these accidents. In an attempt to reduce these accidents, researchers at the the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pittsburgh Research Laboratory conducted studies of operator interactions with the motions of continuous mining machines and roof bolter boom arms. These operators generally perform their tasks in close proximity to the equipment in confined workspaces, often employing awkward postures. Since experiments with human subjects using the actual equipment were not feasible due to safety concerns, researchers opted to conduct controlled experiments in laboratory settings. Utilizing motion capture technologies and computer simulations, the studies collected data on equipment and operator movement in a range of seam heights and working postures. This article details the results of these studies to examine operating speeds based on usage and seam height.