The US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) awarded the Colorado School of Mines a $91,000 grant this month to develop a simulation software to train mine managers and staff for emergencies. The program will be designed to instruct personnel on reactions to hazardous situations and will guide them in making correct decisions based on particular sets of conditions.
The software will provide education and training in emergency situations in an interactive way, which is more effective than merely providing a manual of best practices. The goal of the program is to familiarize users with responses to emergencies so that if one occurs, response is automatic. Hopefully, this will lower the incidence rate of accidents and save lives in the long run.
Seven other institutions also received MSHA grants of varying sizes and will be working on similar projects, including simulation and gaming software designed to teach mine workers with limited or non-existent English skills. In addition to the software products, some organizations will be developing multimedia presentations and videos for use in mines.
The goal of all of these grants is to provide a starting point for the design and implementation of more comprehensive safety practices. The MHSA believes that safety training programs nationwide are currently poor and that these new programs will be a first step towards making mining accidents a thing of the past.
The mine safety initiative is named after the 25 men who died in explosions in mines in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 and Tallsmanville, West Virginia, in 2006.