The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is seeking approval for data collections to identify the best uses of immersive virtual reality environments to improve the health and safety of underground coal miners. Federal law requires NIOSH to conduct research to improve working conditions and prevent accidents and occupational diseases in underground coal and metal/nonmetal mines.
With just one underground disaster in the 1990s, NIOSH and other officials believed emergency response did not need to be a top research priority. "However, major coal mine disasters between 2001 and 2010 have resulted in 65 fatalities," NIOSH said. "These events highlighted the critical need to balance investments to reduce low probability/high severity events with those that focus on frequent, but less severe injuries and illnesses."
The proposed project will determine the best use of virtual reality technologies using the Mine Rescue and Escape Training Laboratory. Specific focus will be on training assessment and training development.
Training assessment includes evaluating four training modules, evaluating participant reactions, and developing guidelines. Training development involves using 3-D technologies to develop a prototype for a mine rescue closed-circuit breathing apparatus.
During a three-year period, about 150 underground coal miners will be selected for a variety of data collection strategies such as self-report pre- and post-test instruments for assessing trainee reaction and measuring learning. The respondents targeted for the study include rank and file miners, mine rescue team members, and mine safety and health professionals.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
April 1, 2013
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