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‘The Evaluation of Atmospheric Soluble Mist Concentrations on Longwall Faces at Illawarra Coal’

Expected outcomes

The project was envisaged to provide:

  1. A viable and sensitive method to evaluate the levels of atmospheric soluble oils on longwall faces.
  2. Data regarding the levels of exposure of longwall face operators arising from soluble oil entering the general airbody on longwall faces.
  3. Health effects (potential) from exposure to breathing the atmosphere.
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Jen Hines MAIOH, COH - Occupational Hygienist - EHS SOlutions
Start date
Estimated end date
01 July 2008

‘Task Rotation in an Underground Coal Mine’

Expected Results:

The project will provide valuable information about the challenges and benefits of introducing task rotation within an underground coal mining environment considering the management, supervisor and workers perspective. This information will inform future implementation of task rotation within the coal mining environment.

Guidelines that will surround the project include:

  • 9 hour shift-minimum of 2 rotations maximum of 3
  • 12 hour shift-minimum of 3 rotations maximum of 4
  • Maximum of 4 hours per task
  • Deputy to allocate task rotations within his crew as each shift will be different
  • Rotations need to be as practical as possible for each individual crew
  • Individuals should not rotate to a task that is similar to a previous task e.g. left hand to right hand bolting.

These guidelines form the expectations of the project and can be transferrable across the coal mining industry.

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Kristy Prior, Coal Services Health
Start date
Estimated end date
31 January 2018

‘Identifying areas and occupations in surface mining that are at high risk of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure and using the findings to develop an evidence based health surveillance guideline for the Australian coal industry’

Identifying areas and occupations in surface mining that are at high risk of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure and using the findings to develop an evidence based health surveillance guideline for the Australian coal industry
Expected Results:

To be able to quantify, through a targeted monitoring program, the levels of exposure to respirable dust and RCS that surface mineworkers could potentially be exposed to when conducting tasks already known to offer a higher risk profile. A very small percentage of annual statutory monitoring captures these activities and this targeted program will address this identified gap in our data and understanding. By partnering with CSH during this program, an enhanced and focused health surveillance system will result.

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Mark Shepherd, Coal Services CMTS
Start date
02 December 2016

Estimated end date
31 July 2018

‘Reducing the impact of back pain in miners’

Expected Results:

By the end of the project we expect to:

  • Have developed a risk prediction model (screening tool) to identify miners at risk of persistent low back pain and understand the impact of health risk factors on this condition in the mining industry.
  • Understand the challenges and facilitators of integrating the screening tool to link those at risk of persistent low back pain to a telephone-based prevention program.
  • Understand the potential effectiveness of the screening and prevention program on pain coping abilities and health risk factors in those at risk of persistent low back pain.
  • Have worked with the relevant stakeholders, including Coal Services, NSW Ministry of Health, and organisations, to develop a model to implement the program industry wide.
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Christopher Williams, Hunter Valley Research Institute
Start date
11 February 2016

Estimated end date
06 September 2018

‘Data Analysis Reporting Framework for CSPL’s Dust Sampling Database’

Development of a method of statistical analysis and reporting framework for Coal Services monitoring of airborne dust data for the New South Wales Coal Industry

Mining it is an ancient occupation that has been long recognised as being arduous and liable to injury and disease. Historically, one of the concerns was coal workers exposure to dust and the development of coal workers pneumoconiosis.

In the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) the Hygiene Service of Coal Services Pty Ltd have been undertaking personal gravimetric and airborne dust monitoring in all NSW coal mines since 1983 to measure and report exposures to inhalable and respirable dust. Since 2001, this monitoring is conducted on a regular, scheduled basis in accordance with Order 42.1 The results are stored in a specific database. Following each instance of monitoring each mine is provided with regular report (mg/m3) which identifies any exceedance of the occupational exposure limit. If the monitoring identifies that additional, specific follow up action is required at a mine a report is provided to the Standing Dust Committee. To date, no further use is made of these results that are a valuable source of data.

Conclusion: The Coal Services Occupational Hygiene database is an invaluable resource. To improve the use and quality of reporting back to stakeholders we put forward an alternative standardised report which presents the sampling data in a more user friendly way.

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Maya Guest, Newcastle University
Start date
25 May 2012

Estimated end date
28 October 2014

‘Calibration of Portable Raw Exhaust Diesel Particulate Analysers’

Conclusion: As a result of the research conducted the following outcomes have been achieved:

  • It is possible to use a small diesel generator to produce an exhaust stream that provides varying levels of elemental carbon (EC) at different engine loads with a reasonably even distribution across the exhaust pipe. This then provides a valuable means for the calibration of instrumentation directly to NIOSH method 5040 which is an internationally recognised standard for health assessment.
  • The use of laser light scattering (LLS) instruments with generic factors to convert the measured total particulate matter (TPM) to EC is only valid for the types of engines that they were originally derived. On this basis every new type of engine that enters underground diesel fleets in coal mines should be evaluated to establish if the current factor remains appropriate. If this occurs, direct reading instrumentation (eg LLS) should provide a useful means for the quick measurement of raw exhaust EC. If the industry does not wish to undertake this work then TPM may be a possible metric for the estimation of raw exhaust DP however clarification of the variation in correlation issues raised by Vouitsis, Ntziachristos & Samara (2003) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries report (NSW 2004) will be required before this alternate metric could be used on all engines in current diesel fleets. In either case, checks at appropriate intervals by other potentially slower means would add significantly to the confidence of results obtained by LLS.
  • The sampling of raw exhaust DP using quartz filters for subsequent EC analysis is a viable alternative to current technologies however the process does not lend itself to sampling post a water-filled scrubber tank or for the provision of instant results. It does however provide an excellent audit or checking method for direct reading instrumentation.
  • The Freudenberg sampling system appears to be suitable for the collection of raw exhaust for subsequent EC analysis as a check method for LLS devices provided a number of modifications to the tested prototype recommended to the manufacturer are implemented.
  • The depth that a probe is inserted into the raw exhaust of an engine can have an effect on the concentration of EC measured. This may be a factor in the high level of variability of results experienced by mines when using different testing organisations. For the engine used in this project a probe of 21 cm appears appropriate.
  • No effect on raw exhaust EC concentration caused by temperature was observed when sampling the raw exhaust at approximately 115oC compared to that at 45oC. This is a significant finding as it allows the gas sampling point on the manifold of underground diesel engines used in the coal industry to be the place of choice to collect samples. This should have a major effect on minimising sampling errors provided the exhaust is appropriately cooled and mixed.

The device developed by Emission Reduction Products Engineering Pty Ltd (ERP) to collect a suitable sample from the gas sampling point appears to work, but further evaluation is required over a range of in-service vehicles.

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Brian Davies, University of Wollongong
Start date
22 November 2011

Estimated end date
02 August 2013

‘Revision of Emergency Preparedness and Mines Rescue Manual’

Conclusion: The 2nd Edition of the Mines Rescue, Gas Detection and Emergency Preparedness Manual was released in June 2014.

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Paul Healey, Coal Services Mines Rescue Service
Start date
22 November 2011
Estimated end date

‘Bad Vibrations - Second Edition 2009’ ‘A Handbook on Whole-Body Vibration Exposure in Mining’

Jim Knowles Group - April 2009 (Also available as a Publication)

The original Handbook (2001) was the result of research undertaken by the authors in the NSW coal industry from 1996 to 2000 with funding from the Joint Coal Board Health and Safety Trust (JCB H&ST now Coal Services Health and Safety Trust) and Worksafe Australia.

This revised handbook is the synthesis of these research findings as well as information and ideas gleaned from the industry over the intervening years.

The revisions consist of updates of the information on Standards and research data; adding some simple ‘tools’ for the identification and appraisal of whole-body vibration (WBV) exposure by those who may be affected by it; adding an index and updating the layout and illustrations. Users of the first edition have indicated that the information that it contained was useful and easy to find. Therefore, we have retained all sections that are still applicable.

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Barbara McPhee, Gary Foster, Airdrie Long

‘Keeping Coal miners Healthy at Work’ ‘An Occupational Hygiene Manual for the Coal Industry, Revision 3 - October 2008’

Henderson OH&S Services Pty Ltd - October 2008

Also available on CD ROM

The issues of control of noise and dust health hazards are two occupational health themes well known throughout the coal industry, but many other Occupational Hygiene matters such as hazardous substances, lighting, radiation, vapours from fuels or solvents, exhaust fumes, or contact with chemicals, are either addressed on a piece-meal, off the cuff or “one off” basis, ignored in the hope the problem will go away, or simply not recognised.

Useful existing information is often not utilised or collected and its value only recognised in hindsight when associated adverse health effects emerge, possibly years later. At that time there may no longer be any possibility of collecting that information which could have helped in identifying the cause of the ill-health before it took its toll.

This Manual provides a system by which such situations may be avoided and the health of workers protected more effectively.

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John Henderson

‘Managing Contractors in the Mining and Extractive Industries’ ‘On-Line Flexible Training for Mine and Quarry Contractor Safety Management’

Jim Knowles Group - September 2007

The project aimed to develop and produce a short duration on-line Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) training program for principals and contractors in the mining and quarrying industries in Australia.

The programme was to be at minimal cost to contractors to enable them to meet the requirements of general duties of care for national OHS legislation and NSW legislation and mining and quarrying companies in particular.

Objectives of the Project
1. Trial the delivery of flexible on-line learning methods in safety management systems and plans to contractors and to those in the extractive industries / mines w ho supervise them.

2. Trial the use of self-paced learning and feedback to build vital industry know ledge and skills on safety management systems and plans to individual, remote participants.

3. Determine if principals’ supervisors and contractors can advance their know ledge about the systematic management of risk and legal obligations, especially new legislation, using on-line learning / flexible delivery.

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Jim Knowles, Graham Terry, John Dugas

‘Gravimetric Dust Sampling a Change to AS2985 and Exposure Standards’

Gravimetric Dust Sample - a Change to AS2985 and Exposure Standards

Coal Services - December 2004
Research question – What is the effect of a change in the flow rate on the amount of silica collected during a sample in real work situation – unknown factors

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Ryan Pitt, Gary Mace, Sharon Buckley

‘On-Line Learning Research Project for Mine Deputies Certificate of Competency’

NSW Minerals Council - May 2006

There is an imminent short fall in the skills vital to the functioning of underground coal mines in both NSW & Queensland. Deputies are a statutory position and there must be suitably qualified and experienced people in such positions in order for a company to continue meeting its legislative requirements. Given the challenges faced by the NSW coal industry e.g. geographical location, relatively small numbers of people in these positions, etc there has been a decline in the take up of the Deputies‟ Course in traditional face to face learning environments (e.g. TAFE). With technological developments in computing and particularly with the internet, flexible online delivery appeared to hold great potential to build the stock of skills and knowledge necessary to maintain adequately trained personnel in the Coal industry.

The first stage of the pilot program (3 Units of Competency) was not advertised and potential candidates were sought from Centennial, Newpac and Xstrata only, as these sites were in close proximity to the Newcastle Mines Rescue Station. This was seen as a logical way to progress towards a full, flexible Online Education Model with minimal face-to-face contact. Some 10 - 16 candidates were sought to participate in the pilot. On the no-commitment information morning on Saturday 22 January 2005, 35 mentors and potential candidates attended with just one weeks‟ notice. Numerous apologies were also received. During the preceding week, Murray Bird of MRS had taken many phone calls from other companies and contracting firms seeking 2 positions on the pilot program. This interest continued over subsequent weeks. Ultimately, only 17 candidates were accepted, 16 from industry and 1 from MRS.

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John Hempenstall, Murray Bird, John Dugas, Kristy Fairburn, Kieren Turner

‘Review of the Health Effects associated with Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica in Coal Dust’

Martin Jennings & Associates – October 2004

Coal Services Pty Ltd (CSPL) has commissioned a study by the authors of respirable crystalline silica in coal dust, specifically asking the following questions:
a) What are the adverse health effects from exposure to crystalline silica in respirable coal dust and are they different in any way to those from exposure to pure crystalline silica?

b) Is the current NSW exposure standard of 0.15 mg/m3 respirable silica sufficient to prevent the onset of any disease outcome identified in (a)?

The authors viewed current available research and data provided by CSPL on coal dust and quartz exposures and on incidence of diseases in NSW coal miners. Where appropriate, personal contacts were initiated with persons identified as having expertise in the area.

There is considerable evidence to indicate that exposure to pure crystalline silica will result in a number of disease outcomes including silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, chronic airways disease, auto-immune diseases and nephrotoxicity.

Of these disease outcomes, silicosis and lung cancer were considered to be the most relevant to this study.

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Martin Jennings, Martyn Flahive

‘Review of Health Effects Associated with Exposure to Inhalable Coal Dust’

Martin Jennings & Associates - October 2005

The main aims were to:

Determine what (if any) are the adverse health effects known to arise from exposure to inhalable coal dust;
If no effects are reported in the literature with respect to inhalable coal dust, determine whether there are any comparisons that can be made to other inhalable dusts; and,

If possible, determine a suitable workplace exposure standard for inhalable coal dust and establish the degree of protection it provides for specific health outcomes.


Air monitoring in coal mines has typically focussed on respirable dust, due to the welldocumented relationship between respirable dust levels and disease conditions such as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis. However, recent monitoring at 3 underground mines in NSW has shown that workers are exposed to elevated levels of inhalable coal dust. Although the health consequences of exposure to high levels of airborne inhalable coal dust are not well understood, the NSW Department of Mineral Resources is proposing to introduce a workplace exposure standard of 10 mg/m3. This paper also examines whether there is a clear basis for this.

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Martin Jennings, Martyn Flahive

‘An Extension of the Diesel Particulate (DP) Exposure Sampling Program to Potential High Exposure Mineworker & Contractor Personnel Involved in Longwall Transfers’

An Extension of the Diesel Particulate (DP) Exposure Sampling Program to Potential High Exposure Mineworker & Contractor Personnel Involved in Longwall Transfers

Coal Services - October 2008

This report constitutes a continuation of similar work on measurement and control that had been conducted during the 1990‟s at Tower Colliery and some other mines in NSW.

The results of which had been incorporated into Guidelines for Minimising Exposure to Diesel Emissions in Underground Coal Mines endorsed by the NSW Minerals Council and are available on the following website www.coalservices.com.au

The data from the previous projects highlighted the relatively higher exposures of mine and contractor personnel involved in longwall transfers. The aim of the project was to enhance the DP exposure database and assist in providing information that could possibly be eventually used to determine standards for DP exposure in the mining industry and link to the Cancer Surveillance Study of the Health and Safety Trust.

The establishment of a readily available internationally validated Laboratory to provide timely results for diesel particulate was a cornerstone of the project, as was the set up of a comprehensive database for diesel particulate exposure, similar to the Coal Services dust and noise databases for current and future interrogation of results.

The establishment of the laboratory was carried out in NSW by the Coal Services Health Environmental Monitoring Service and Ben Cary from Sunset Laboratories (USA); and the testing of the ten mine sites carried out by CSH EMS personnel. This report details the project parameters, sampling methodology and results of testing.

This report also presents the results of the testing with statistical analysis, a review of the control measures that were in use at the mine sites tested and a critical analysis of those control measures that were effective in ensuring that even in the potentially higher exposure environment of a longwall transfer that levels of DP exposure were below current recommended guidelines.

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Gary Mace

‘Work Breaks and Rest Periods’

Minerals Industry Safety & Health Centre (MISHC), University of Queensland – January 2005

This project, funded by the New South Wales Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, was designed to develop and apply a model to examine work breaks and rest periods in mining operations that leads to ensuring the benefits associated with work breaks are optimised. It complements much of the work that has been completed in examining shift rosters.

A targeted literature review was performed based on information collected from a wide variety of sources. Despite the concerns expressed about the effect of fatigue and rest on the rate of production and safety, scientific research on this topic has generally only proposed breaks schedules for very specific, repetitive tasks or practitioners have resorted to general statements about the desirability of rest periods. As such this previous work cannot be directly applied to determine optimal rest patterns in the majority of mining tasks.

The objective of the original proposal was to ascertain how quantity of work, quality of work and subjective fatigue alter with time on task and scheduling and length of breaks and to develop guidelines for determining the most appropriate break patterns. This objective was significantly modified based on the findings of the literature review and initial data collection.

The original four stages proposed for the project were refined and partially modified during the project.

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Carmel Bofinger, Sharyn Cobbin, David Cliff, Tim Horberry

‘Fatigue Related Crashes on the Way To and From NSW Coal Mines’

ARRB Group Ltd (Formerly ARRB Transport Research Ltd) – April 2005

The general perception of the state of fatigue-related crashes in transit home from mining workplaces in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle Coalfields and Wollongong areas of New South Wales (NSW) is that it is occurring, although the prevalence is somewhat unknown. It was proposed that the following research questions be asked within the study:
1. What is the prevalence of coal mine workers having road crashes on the way to or way home from coal mines in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle Coalfields and Wollongong areas?

2. What proportion of these crashes has fatigue as a contributing factor?

3. Are there any differences in crashes for people who work in underground mining versus open cut mining?

4. Does the length of shift or time of day have an influence on any of these crashes?

5. Are there similarities between crashes on the way to and from coal mines in NSW as opposed to QLD?

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Nick Mabbott, Debbie Cornwell, Bob Lloyd, Anna Koszelak

‘Underlying Causes & Incidence of Shift Worker Driver Fatigue in Central Queensland’

School of Management, Central Queensland University – February 2004

The introduction of extended working shifts (in excess of 8-h) and the increased use of contractors has produced an occupational health and safety (OHS) issue that had not been considered in detail in risk assessments at the time; the impact of driver fatigue in addition to the work shift. This research comprised three separate studies that provided data on the impact of driver fatigue in both short and long distance driving and the driving patterns of shiftworkers on days off.

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Lee Di Milia, Peter Smith

‘Investigation of Dust Generation & the Effectiveness of Suppression Techniques Used on Longwall BSL and Crushers’

Investigation of Dust Generation & the Effectiveness of Suppression Techniques Used on Longwall BSL and Crushers.

Andrew Rutherford Pty Ltd – November 2003

Proposal Summary:
The Joint Coal Board, now Coal Services, has been entrusted with the Underground Coal Health for many years, and this includes the monitoring of environmental factors, especially dust via the Standing Dust Committee.

Through this committee, longwall exposure is measured on a regular minimum six monthly basis and advice and assistance offered to the mines on dust control and mitigation.

One area of high dust make is the BSL and Crusher, where the resultant dust can severely contaminate intake ventilation and therefore expose greater numbers of operators to high dust exposures.

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Andrew Rutherford

‘To Quantify the Effects of Occupational Health & Hygiene Issues for the Illawarra Coal Underground Operations’

Illawarra Coal, BHP Billiton – February 2004

Occupational hygiene issues such as respirable dust and diesel exhaust fumes are well known to those within the coal industry but many other occupational hygiene issues are not well understood and thus not adequately evaluated. Consequently, the aim of the project was to quantify the effect on the workforce of all occupational hygiene issues identified at the BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal mines in a systematic and scientific manner and to develop a management plan to control unacceptable exposures. As such a task is a significant undertaking, a Working Group, comprising workforce and management representatives, site safety/training officers plus external occupational hygiene and medical professionals, was formed to identify potential issues, assign priorities to each issue, evaluate the level of risk, develop control strategies and to oversee the implementation of any agreed controls. This process identified nineteen (19) key issues and a procedure to evaluate each on a risk-based priority over a three to five year period.

The first issues that were evaluated were dust (respirable and inhalable), noise and hazardous substances. A statistically based monitoring programme has been implemented to monitor the workplace of all work groups within BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal operations for dust and noise. Sampling has been conducted using a random sampling schedule over a 16-week period (January – May 2003) on all shifts and days of the week.

Evaluation of the other identified issues is continuing in accordance with the level of risk identified by the Working Group.

Results obtained to date suggest significant occupational hygiene issues exist within the underground coal mining industry, eg excessive noise exposure. Measures to reduce employee exposure to excessive levels of chemical or physical agents are being investigated and implemented if effective.

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Steve McFadden, Brian Davies

‘Developing Risk Management Strategies to Improve Safety & Health in Coal Mines’

Southern Cross Safety - February 2007

The effective management of risk is a key issue for all Australian mines. The recent trend towards performance based occupational health and safety legislation and standards has required mines to develop risk management programs and processes that identify, assess and control workplace hazards.

Poor risk management processes can cause fatalities, serious injuries and illness and yet in the Australian (and indeed the world) context while there is much information available regarding generic risk management techniques and practices, there is a significant gap in guidance material available for the management of risk and risk communications within Australian coal mines. It is also of note that what material is available is difficult to access, is fragmented and scattered.

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Hayden Cater

‘Practical Ergonomics – A Handbook for Mining Personnel’

Jim Knowles Group – July 2005 (Also available as a Publication)


There are many hundreds of textbooks and thousands of papers written on ergonomics and human factors in design. Most contain detailed information that is useful to the specialist or the professional when solving ergonomics problems. However, their technical nature may confuse the non-ergonomist and they may require specialist interpretation. Ergonomics is often straightforward as much of it is commonsense. At the same time, its application may not be obvious or easy because it involves people and people are complicated. The difficulties in applying ergonomics lie in the differences between people and how these can be accommodated.

The combination of sex, age, experience, education, fitness and health, inherent abilities and social values makes every person unique. Everybody can draw on his or her own experience, knowledge and skills to say what is reasonable to expect a person to do but we know that this works only part of the time.

Many jobs contain unnecessary and potentially damaging design faults and organisational obstacles that compound the intrinsic difficulties of the tasks. Normal job demands may then become hurdles increasing errors and reducing productivity and efficiency. These hurdles can also lead to risks to workers’ health and safety. For many people it is often difficult to know where the reasonable cut-off point is between completing tasks and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Unfortunately there are very few books available that cater for the needs of workers and their supervisors who have no formal education in ergonomics principles and application. Those that do exist tend to concentrate on the problems of office and industrial work and there are significant gaps when trying to identify and solve problems outside those areas. Nevertheless workers and their supervisors in all occupations in Australia are now actively involved in solving ergonomics problems at work. Usually these are primarily related to occupational health and safety issues but increasingly they also relate to productivity, efficiency, and job satisfaction.

Recognising and solving ergonomics problems requires some knowledge and teamwork. This handbook aims to provide some basic information on ergonomics principles and how workers and supervisors may apply these, particularly for the prevention of health and safety problems at work.

This Handbook is designed as a ‘map’ of ergonomics: its scope and application in the workplace rather than a complete summary of all issues. It provides introductory material in the form of general principles and guidance that might be of use to people working in heavy industry such as mining, construction, agriculture, forestry and the utilities. For the most part it steers away from recipe solutions and concentrates on the process of ergonomics problem solving. It does not attempt to repeat what is adequately covered in other publications. Key Principles for sections are included. The reading list (Further Reading) is  intended to provide access to further, more detailed or specialised information on different topics. However, it is suggested that when seeking solutions for groups of people, particularly at the beginning of the process, a professional ergonomist can assist in the interpretation of technical material.

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Barbara McPhee

‘Coal Industry Safety Culture Measure’

TUNRA Ltd (The University of Newcastle Research Associates) - October 2005

This report was prompted by the Joint Coal Board Health and Safety Trust (JCBHST) and Coal Services (CS) Pty Limited to identify critical factors contributing to safety culture within the Australian coal mining industry. The research involved participation by a number of Coal Mines from the Hunter Region, NSW: mostly underground and one open-cut. The information outlined in this report is of the first project of an extended research program aimed at developing a safety culture measurement tool for the Australian national coal mining industry. This report contains a detailed review of the scientific literature relevant to safety culture and safety climate within the Industrial Human Factors domains relating to critical safety factors pertinent to the Australian coal mining Industry and its workforce. Concentrated discussion is presented on the critical factors contributing to human error, safety culture, and safety climate together with the results and recommendations from the first phase of the initial research project, which was commenced in 2003. The project to date has been funded by the JCB Health & Safety Trust with supplementary funding from the University of Newcastle. The project was conducted under National Ethical Guidelines approval number H-578-0503 Human Research Ethics Committee, The University of Newcastle. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent official CS Pty Limited or JCB-HST positions. The project team wishes to acknowledge Mr Ken Cram, CS Pty Limited, who has acted as the Project Liaison Officer. We express our further appreciation to the Safety Training Coordinators from the mines involved in the research project for arranging site tours and providing much assistance with access and the administration and facilitation of this project.

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Peter Pfister

‘Evaluation of Workload Distribution in Underground Mingin and the Development of Strategies to Reduce Overuse Syndrome’

Evaluation of Workload Distribution in Underground Mingin and the Development of Strategies to Reduce Overuse Syndrome

Queensland University of technology - November 2006

This report describes a study of workload distribution in underground coal-mining funded by Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, undertaken by a research group at Queensland University of Technology. The study focused on the use of strategies to reduce musculoskeletal injury that use various forms of workload distribution, including job rotation, as one part of the hierarchy of controls. Previous research on the practice and outcomes of job rotation in other industries were reviewed, together with aspects of injury causation and fatigue that are influenced by workload distribution.

Deputies in Queensland and New South Wales representing 248 miners were interviewed about the current workload distribution practices at four different mine sites, together with a smaller group of miners. This provided information about the involvement of miners and deputies in decision processes about the allocation of work over the course of a shift, the factors taken into consideration in both allocating work and in determining the nature and timing of rotation to other tasks. Information was also gathered on related issues such as break and sleep quality. The interviewees also provided open-ended commentary on limitations to job rotation in their crews.

A set of field observations were also conducted, which supplemented the interview data and provided information concerning the limitations and opportunities for job rotation within crews. A modelling exercise was undertaken using information gained in the preceding phases to illustrate the effects of varying crew size and skill levels in crews on the capacity to undertake job rotation over a shift.

A series of recommendations are made with respect to workload distribution practices, in the areas of management and policy, crew-level interventions and training, and research and data management.

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Tony Parker

‘Development, Demonstration & Implementation of a Virtual Reality Simulation Capability for Coal Mining Operations’

The University of New South Wales, School of Mining Engineering - June 2005

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Chris Fowler, Phil Stothard, Jim Galvin

‘Methods for measuring Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) from underground Mining Equipment’

NSW Dept of Primary Industries, Mine Safety Technical Services – November 2004

Methods for measuring Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) from underground Mining Equipment

The project was funded by the Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, and run by the NSW Department of Mineral Resources (now incorporated into Department of Primary Industries). It aimed to find one or more methods for measuring diesel particulate matter (DPM) in the raw exhaust of diesel-powered mining equipment at underground coal mines. The method(s) were required to correlate reasonably well with the standard method for measuring DPM, and would be practical for use underground at mine sites by mine personnel.

The water scrubber on these machines was recognised from the start as a potential cause of problems.

A number of techniques and instruments were considered, and the project focussed on three laser light-scattering instruments, and a NIOSH pressure-drop method. The light-scattering instruments were found to require diluted and dried sample in order to cope with water in the raw exhaust – either before or after the water scrubber. The NIOSH sampling tubes were modified to handle the water. The testing included the Bosch smoke meter and the R&P Elemental Carbon Analyser, which have bothe been used extensively in mines in recent years.

The methods were first evaluated against the standard dilution tunnel method (using weighed filter papers) and other recognised methods. Tests were conducted using three engines operating on an engine dynamometer under tight control, using a single fuel. The tests involved steady-state conditions, and also steady state with accelerations.

Correlations between the instruments and the standard method varied. Difficulty was encountered with one light-scattering instrument, which was also much larger than the others. It was not included in the later trials.

The methods were refined in the light of the dynamometer tests. The dilution system for the light-scattering instruments was made much more precise. An improved sample pump for the NIOSH method made this a simpler method to use.

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Clive Ellis

‘Investigation of Operator Fatigue Through Successive Night Shifts’

ARRB Transport Research Ltd – October 2003

Technical Summary

The Joint Coal Board (Health & Safety Trust) funded ARRB Transport Research Ltd. to investigate fatigue and performance in open cut mines. The main questions were to assess:
What is the most important contributor to acute fatigue in open cut mining? Is it length of shift (eg. 8 hours Vs 12 hours) or is it time of day (eg. circadian effects)?

What is the limit of successive day or night shifts before chronic fatigue affects operator performance in open cut mines?

What is the minimum amount of sleep required to perform adequately through a 12-hour day or night shift?

Can we use an alcohol comparison to assess cut-off levels for fatigued operators?

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Nick Mabbott, Bob Lloyd

‘Development of Functional Fitness Measures’

Queensland University if Technology - January 2007

Development of Functional Fitness Measures Related to the Work Practices of underground Coal Miners

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Tony Parker

‘Ergonomic of Access and Egress for Mobile Off Road Plant – Pilot Project’

Nery Ergonomics Services – January 2003

Ergonomic of Access and Egress for Mobile Off Road Plant – Pilot Project

The aims of this project are to identify and assess hazards associated with the design and use of 17 different types of mobile plant.

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David Nery

‘Success Factors Associated with Demonstrated Effectiveness of Contractor Safety Management’

ACIRRT, University of Sydney – November 2002

This project could never have taken place without the cooperation of the informants who agreed to share their thoughts, experiences and knowledge. In particular I would like to thank the mine workers and managers who gave us their precious time, sometimes at the end or beginning of long and tiring shifts. Special thanks go to the people who took us on our first forays underground and into the open pit. They were patient with our wide-eyed questions and kept us safe. Nothing quite prepares you for the reality of a working coal mine and without that experience the magnitude of health and safety issues in the industry can never be fully appreciated. Brigid Van Wanrooy was the other half of the project team for the fieldwork and contributed wit and intelligence. She is the finest of travelling companions, a good friend to have and a sharp and incisive researcher.

The support of the people you work with should never be underestimated. My colleagues at ACIRRT share their seemingly inexhaustible knowledge with a breathtaking generosity. They are also very kind when deadlines are pressing and report writing is underway. Special tribute needs to be paid to Kathryn Heiler. She provided a guiding hand at critical moments which is the best you can ask. Finally, every research venture needs a backer and this task was undertaken by the Coal Australia Health and Safety Trust who continue to support critical work into the study of coal mining. I would like to specifically acknowledge Ken Cram, Carol Mische and Lyn Ferguson for their patience and assistance.

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Kathryn Heiler

‘Effectiveness of Current Methods to Control Sprain and Strain Injuries in the NSW Coal Industry’

Working Armour - February 2003

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Julie Armour

‘Manual Handling in Underground Mines’

CS Health and CQPR Pty Ltd – July 2002

Available as a Publication only

Ref Number

‘e-MineSafe Simulator Training and Assessment’

University of NSW and Mine Site Technologies Pty Ltd – September 2001

Ref Number
Stothard, Otto, Laurence, Galvin, Zenari

‘Demonstration and proving of the Acoustic Energy Meter for Detecting Incompetent Mine Roof as part of Routine Roof Sounding’

STRATA ENGINEERING (Australia) Pty Ltd – August 2004

Ref Number
Russell Frith

‘Working Safely with Hearing Loss’

Sound Research Ventures Pty Ltd – November 2002

This report presents the results of a Coal Services Pty Ltd Health and Safety Trust funded project titled “Working Safely with Hearing Loss”. The project arose from the need to develop a reliable procedure for testing whether underground coal miners with a high degree of hearing loss could hear adequately in the work environment for safety purposes. It is vitally important that all workers be able to respond appropriately to warnings during an emergency situation. A worker who has significant loss of hearing, as defined through audiometric testing, is assumed to be less capable of hearing warnings and is therefore considered a risk to himself and others.

While this would certainly be the case for a profoundly deaf person or a person who has lost part of their hearing through a sudden trauma, workers who have sustained ‘industrial deafness’ over a long period of time partially adapt to the condition and can often hear much better during normal conversation than their audiograms would suggest. This adaptation is due to the greater conscious effort to listen and the use of visual cues such as lip-reading and observing the speaker’s body language. These visual cues are generally not presented underground and the true
effect of the hearing loss is uncertain.

Another important factor affecting the audibility of shouted warnings is the presence of high background noise levels. Even people with little or no hearing loss find it difficult to hear speech in a noisy environment. This project therefore investigates the ability of work-aged people with hearing loss to hear verbal commands in a noisy, underground environment. No attempt is made to determine the absolute level to which the underground environment affects speech intelligibility. Rather, the focus is on the reduced hearing ability of the ‘industrially deaf’ worker compared to that of a worker with little or no loss of hearing.

Ref Number
Neil Pennington

‘Feasibility Study – Implementation of an Ergonomics Intervention to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries Caused by Manual Handling’

The University of Queensland – March 2002

'Implementation of an Ergonomics Intervention to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries Caused by Manual Handling'

The University of Queensland – January 2006

Ref Number
Robin Burgess-Limerick, D Lee, David Cliff, Andrew Neal, Jim Joy, Leon Straker, Clare Pollock, Sue Leveritt

‘Noise Awareness and Hearing Protection Training for the Australian Coal Industry’

Noise and Sound Services – October 2001

Ref Number
Ken Scannell

‘Risk Factors for Heart Disease Among Coal Miners’

SIMTARS - March 2002

‘Investigation of Elevated Blood Pressure Among NSW Coal Miners’

Ref Number
Carmel Bofinger, Bruce Ham

‘Feasibility Study for a National Health Data Base’

SIMTARS - 2001

Ref Number
Carmel Bofinger, Bruce Ham

‘Feasibility of Simulation Technology for Training in the Coal industry’

Consultants April 2000

Ref Number
Bob Gibbons, Andrew MacPherson

‘ALTS II – A Longwall Gateroad Design Methodology for Australian Collieries’

Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd – January 2001

(Software Package & Report No RD 900/01-019 available from Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd)

Ref Number
Mark Colwell, Sean Cory

‘No Black Marks – A Fair Drugs and Alcohol Policy’

JCB Health - 2001

Available as VHS PAL Video Only

Ref Number

‘Hearing Protection Performance for the Australian Coal Industry’

Wilkinson Murray Pty Ltd – February 1998

Ref Number
Ken Scannell

‘Evaluation of the TEOM Continuous Respirable Dust Monitor for Use in Australian Coal Mines – Stage 1’

Joint Coal Board – April 1998, December 1999

Ref Number
Denis Glover, Brian Davies

‘Extended Shift Exposure Limit Adjustment Factors for Coal Mine Dusts’

SIMTARS – June 1998

Ref Number
Gerard Tiernan, Deborah Van Zanten

‘Exposure to Diesel Particulate Under Various Operating Conditions in Queensland Underground Coal Mines’

AROH & S Pty Ltd – March 2002

Ref Number
Alan Rogers

‘Hazards of Remote Control in Mining’

School of Safety Science, University of New South Wales - April 2000

Ref Number
Jean Cross, Patrick Donohue

‘Electrostatic Enhancement of Water Sprays for Coal Dust Suppression’

School of Safety Science, University of New South Wales - April 2000

Ref Number
JA Cross, JCW Fowler, Gui Fu

‘Publication – Outbursts of Gas, Coal and Rock in Underground Coal Mines’

Available on CD ROM from ACARP as Report # C4034

Ref Number
Ripu Lama, Jakub Bodziony

‘Keeping Coal Miners Healthy at Work - An Occupational Hygiene Manual for the Coal Industry’

Australian Environmental Health Services – December 1997

“January 2001 / Revision 1” (Loose-leaf Folder Only)

“March 2004/ Revision 2” (CD ROM Only)

"October 2008/ Revision 3"

Ref Number
Brian Davies, Denis Glover, Richard Manuell

‘Exposure Measurement & Risk Estimation from Diesel Particulate (DP) in Underground Coal Mines’

Alan Rogers OH&S Pty Ltd – September 2005

Ref Number
Alan Rogers

‘Noise Management at Coal mine Sites’

Joint Coal Board Noise Induced Hearing Loss Standing Committee – January 1996

Ref Number
Thomas Mitchell. VIOSH Australia, University of Ballarat

‘Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection’

New South Wales Cancer Council – April 1998

Available as a Publication Only

Ref Number

‘Investigation into the Problems Associated with the Wearing of Work Boots in the NSW Underground Coal Mining Industry’

‘Safety / Protective Footwear Specification July’ 2000

Ref Number
Shirley Marr, Research Podiatrist

‘Benchmarking Rehabilitative Need in miners with Hearing Loss’

Decisions Research Asia – April 2003

Ref Number
Anthony Hogan, Simon Fifer

‘Deterioration of Noise Absorption Materials Used in Underground Coal Mining Equipment’

VIOSH Australia, University of Ballarat – August 2000

Ref Number
Thomas Mitchell, John Culvenor, Steve Cowley

‘National Workplace Health Project’

Department of Public Health and Community Medicine – University of Sydney June 2000

Ref Number
David Harris, Judy Simpson, Brian Oldenburg, Timothy Dobbins

‘Portable Refuge Chamber – Stage 1’

Minesite Technologies – December 1994

Ref Number
Dennis Kent and Greg Payne

‘Proceedings – Symposium on Management and Control of High Gas Emissions and Outbursts in Underground Coal Mines’

Kembla Coal & Coke Pty Ltd – March 1995

Available as a Publication Only

Ref Number
Ripu Lama

‘Elimination of Goaf Encroachment into the Working Place’

The University of New South Wales - December 1998

Ref Number
Bruce Hebblewhite

‘Lower Limb and Ankle Trauma Amongst Coal Miners: Enhancing Prevention of Injury and Improving Rehabilitation Success’

The University of Sydney & Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney - March 1999

Ref Number
Dennis Smith, Ross Harris, David Harris, George Truman & Natalie Pelham

‘Sudden & Uncontrolled Roof Failures’

Institute of Coal Research (ICR), The University of Newcastle - December 1999

Ref Number
Konrad H R Moelle, Gan Li, Greg Dean- Jones

‘Eye Safety in the NSW Coal Mining Industry’

Unisearch, The University of New South Wales - December 1996

Ref Number
D Dingsdag, S Dain, C Winder

‘Exposure to Whole Body Vibration for Drivers and Passengers in Mining Vehicles’

Part 1 - Open Cut Mines and a Coal Loading Terminal

National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) - May 2000

Part 2 - "Report Findings 1997 to 2000 at Four Underground Mines. To be read in conjunction with Part 1

National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) - February 2001

"A Handbook on Whole-Body Vibration Exposure in Mining"

July 2001 (Also available as publication)

A link to the final report in relation to underground mines is provided below.

Ref Number
Barbara McPhee, Gary Foster, Airdrie Long

‘Assessment of Personal Noise Exposure & Equipment Noise Levels in Underground Coal Mines’

Vipac Engineers & Scientists Ltd March 1994

Ref Number

‘A Guide for the Application of Ergonomics in Coal Mines’


Available as a Publication only

Ref Number
Noel Pye, Leo Roberts, Laurie Stiller, Barbara McPhee, Bob Graham

‘Detection of DNA Adducts in Coal Miners Exposed to Diesel Engine Emissions’

Worksafe Australia 1995

Ref Number
Shu-Xin Qu, James Leigh, Hamilton Koelmeyer, Neill Stacey

‘The Dynamics of Windblasts in Underground Coal Mines – Phase 3’

School of Mines, University of NSW April 1997

Ref Number
Chris Fawler, S Torabi

‘Application of Coal Petrography and Microstructure to Gas Emissions, outburst Proneness Indications and Alleviation in underground Coal Mines’

Coalseam Gas Research Institute, James Cook University of Nth Qld 1995

Ref Number
Peter Crosdale, Basil Beamish

‘Categorisation of Rock Strata in Australian Coal Mines with Respect to Potential for Methane Ignition by Frictional Effects’

School of Mines, University of NSW 1995

Ref Number
Colin Ward, Anton Crouch, David Cohen, Chris Fowler, Drago Panich

‘Chemical and Physical Characterisation of Coal Dust’

University of New South Wales Surface Science and Technology School of Chemistry August 1995

Ref Number
Robert Lamb

‘Identification of Fabric Defects Leading to Roof Failure Under Mining Induced Loading’

Institute of New South Wales Surface Science and Technology School of Chemistry - August 1995

Ref Number
G Li, K Moelle

‘Study into the Efficacy of Pre-Hospital Treatment of Seriously Injured Mineworkers’

United Mineworkers Federation - 1995

Ref Number
Owen James

‘Implications of Modified Roof Bolting Sequences on Stability and Safety During Roadway Development’

Strata Control Technology (1995)

Ref Number
Winton Gale, G Tarrant, R Guy, S MacGregor

‘Strata for Coal Mine Design’

University of NSW Dept of Mining Engineering 1996 (Free)

Also available as a Publication

Ref Number
Jim Galvin

‘Pilot Project Development of a High-Resilience Under Ground Heterogeneous Wireless Mesh Network’

  • Task 1: Heterogeneous Mesh Network Design: The mesh network will have three kinds of elements: Mesh Coordinator: the converging point of the heterogeneous network and maintains routing tables; Routers: which can talk other devices, and reduced function end devices (sensors): which can only talk to routers and the coordinator. The mesh Coordinators can be directly connected to the existing backbone of network of the mine or be standalone.
  • Task 2: Mesh Coordinator: The mesh coordinator will be developed with multiple antennas (WiFi, Zigbee, Bluetooth) with COFDM and a heterogeneous network convergence software module. This will essentially be a “black box” that can talk to Multiple wireless devices. This can be connected to the mine’s main power supply and/or a self-contained battery. This makes the device useable in mine rescue and recovery operations.
  • Task 3: Router and End Device: Development of a self-configuring/healing mesh algorithm with a suitable green communications technology for extending battery life in both prototype router and end devices.
  • Task 4: Prototype System Testing: Testing of the prototype will be conducted at our laboratory facilities at the University of Canberra. The developed communications system’s capability to communicate through ground obstruction will be tested practically and simulation.
  • Task 5: Analysis and Reporting: Results of the outcomes of the pilot project will be prepared and presented to Coal Services and used nt he ARC Linkage Grant application.
Ref Number
Dr Kumudu Munasinghe, University of Canberra
Start date
11 September 2014
Estimated end date

‘Whole Body Vibration Tool Project’

Conclusion: The relatively low cost of the iPod Touch hardware, and simplicity of the WBV application, has the potential to facilitate routine collection of whole body vibration exposure by site based workplace safety and health staff as part of a systematic whole body vibration risk management program.

The ability to respond rapidly to operator feedback or complaints may also allow early identification of developing problems with roadways or equipment. It is feasible for multiple iPod Touch devises to be used to collect whole shift vibration data for all equipment on site in conjunction with other variables such as road condition, weather, task, location and speed.

The availability of the WBV application facilitates collection of adequate data to allow the identification and understanding of the sources of uncertainty in the evaluation of occupational exposure to whole body vibration.

As well as allowing valid assessments of health risks to be undertaken at a workplace, identifying the combinations of factors which

Lead to elevated vibration amplitudes provides valuable insight into the potential means of implementing effective risk control interventions.

The ability to easily collect whole body vibration data allows the potential effectiveness of suggested control measures to be assessed as part of the risk management process. In summary, the iOS application has potential to effectively evaluate whole body vibration exposure within a workplace risk management process.

Ref Number
Robin Burgess-Limerick, University of Queensland
Start date
29 August 2013

Estimated end date
01 August 2014

‘Calibration of Diesel Particulate Analysers’

Conclusion: The study established an acceptable EC correlation between data using the MAHA MPM-4M aerosol DPM analyser for samples collected from the manifold exhaust sample point and samples collected from the vehicle exhaust.
The study also showed an acceptable correlation between EC data using the MAHA MPM-4M LLS device and the NIOSH 5040 quartz filter analysis from samples collected at both the manifold and the engine exhaust.

The study also showed an acceptable correlation between EC data using the MAHA MPM-4M LLS device and the NIOSH 5040 quartz filter analysis from samples collected at both the manifold and the engine exhaust.

Although it was thought that a revised correction factor would be required for different engine types, this was not found to be the case based on the data produced from this study. Despite the fact that the sample size for some engine types was small, these engines exhibited a similar degree of variance in EC between the MAHA MPM-4M LLS device and the NIOSH 5040 quartz filter analysis to that of engine types with a larger sample size.

Based on the results of this research, the current correction factor used in LLS devices such as the MAHA MPM-4M requires updating from 0.46 to 0.65 when sampling from the exhaust and 0.67 when sampling from the manifold exhaust.

The ability to take samples directly from the manifold exhaust for EC analysis has advantages over taking samples from the vehicle exhaust. These include eliminating issues relating to water vapour in the sample, control over probe insertion and position and more realistic data in relation to engine emissions and condition prior to other devices that may be fitted to the engine.

There seems to be an unfounded perception within the coal mining industry that the accuracy of the LLS and other DPM devices that are currently is use is absolute. Given the equipment and testing variables that can occur during the routine EC and TPM engine testing, results will vary between operators. While an acceptable correlation between LLS devices and the NIOSH 5040 quartz filter analysis has been established during this study, the focus should remain with good engine maintenance and perhaps the adoption of EC value ranges as opposed to a specific concentration as an upper limit.

While a number of analysis outliers were evident from the results, the number was relatively small and did not impact on the overall findings.

The use of the ERP chamber vessel for engine manifold sampling and the Freudenberg sampling system for quartz filter sampling confirmed the observations by Dr Brian Davies in the 2013, Wollongong University, Coal Services Health and Safety Trust research as being suitable devices for this type of testing.

Ref Number
Peter Mason, Coal Mines Technical Services
Start date
21 February 2014

Estimated end date
15 November 2014

‘Improving Footwear in Underground Mines’

Project Aims:
  • Evaluate the morphology of the feet of underground coal mine workers (Study 1);
  • Determine the effects of safety footwear on foot function in underground coal mine workers (Study 2); and
  • Investigate whether semi-customised safety footwear, which cater for the unique structural and functional characteristics of the feet of underground coal mine workers, improve shoe fit and are perceived as comfortable (Study 3 & 4).
Ref Number
Julie Steele, Wollongong University
Start date
15 August 2012

Estimated end date
31 December 2016

‘Partners in Mining – Supporting mine workers and mining family members, who support, care or love someone living with depression’

Project Aims:
  • The proposal is for the first stage of a two-stage concept. In the first phase of the program the Hunter Institute of Mental Health (HIMH) in partnership with CS Health aims to plan, redevelop, pilot and evaluate Partners in Depression for min workers and mining families who care for someone living with depression (Partners in Mining), in the Hunter Valley region of NSW.
  • The first phase of the program will be done in such a way as to support the dissemination of the program through the development of a training manual, participant resources and online materials to qualified allied health staff in CS Health sites in the pilot area.
  • Allied health staff in this location will be provided with extensive training, program support (e.g. recruitment support and logistics), clinical governance support (e.g. clinical mentoring and support from PiD clinicians and project staff) and extensive support to evaluate the program.
Ref Number
Jaelea Skehan, Hunter Institute of Mental Health
Start date
04 November 2013
Estimated end date

‘Evaluating the impact of Virtual Reality based training on the competency of rescue brigades’

Project Aims:
  • Analysis of the evolution of training transfer in time for various rescue brigades will be conducted using a Hidden Markov Model (HMM), a procedure widely used to analyse temporal patterns with hidden intermediate states.
  • Predictions made by the model will be compared with observed performance during and after training sessions to test the robustness of the model.
  • Finally, complementary information will allow us to evaluate the degree of alignment of expectations between managers and trainers with actual training transfer capacity and identify the most efficient training sequences.
  • This will help Mines Rescue to develop better tailored training programs for existing and future rescue brigades in Woonona, Lithgow, Newcastle and Singleton.
Ref Number
Research Director
Pascal Perez, SMART Infrastructure, University of Wollongong
Start date
02 September 2014
Estimated end date

‘Development of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Mark I (Proof of Concept) for Mines Rescue rapid response to coal mine emergencies’

Project Aims:

Success of the Mark 1 UAV project would see:

  • A flying UAV platform that is capable of traversing down a mine roadway regardless of the condition of the terrain on the floor of the mine. (Essentially the core of the project is to avoid the problems that ground-based robots encounter when a mine roadway collapses).
  • To provide an operator with live video feed as the UAV flies down the mine roadway in real time, sending back colour or thermal imagery.
  • Monitor and record gas levels within the mine roadway as the craft flies to give Mines Rescue emergency personnel information of gas levels without endangering human life by entering the mine.
  • LED lighting on the UAV will provide light for navigation purposes and also to illuminate the mine roadway enough that an operator can physically spot a human lying on the floor of the roadway.
  • Produce an Australian made product that will have use across NSW coal mines. Application can also transfer worldwide for use and exposure to potentially save lives and recover resources.
Ref Number
State Operations Manager
Steve Tonegato, Coal Services, Mines Rescue Service
Start date
22 August 2014

Estimated end date
31 December 2016

‘An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Communications Platform for Mines Rescue Operations’

Project Aims:

Task 2: Prototype UAV Communication System:

Working closely with the UAV operator in Adelaide, UC will develop a prototype SDR system to allow for UAV communications from above ground monitor stations to the mining face via a UAV deployed node based mesh network that has non-line of sight coverage using COFDM technology. UC will also develop the transmitters and receivers that are mounted on the aircraft.

Task 3: Prototype Demonstration

A demo of the UAV operating in an underground mine using the prototype communications system with 8 battery powered nodes to control the UAV, stream thermal and normal video, and transmit gas sensor data from the UAV back to the surface. The nodes will be small enough to be carried and deployed by the UAV and will provide at least 3 hours of battery life.

Task 4: Routing Algorithm Optimisation

Development of a self-configuring energy efficient routing algorithm for the UAV Communication system will be focused in this task. Data routing is one of the core challenges in the UAV Communication system since the router connectivity may change frequently and latency and dropouts could be catastrophic to the vehicle. The designed routing algorithm must support a multi-hop communication paradigm and provide alternative connections in the event of the failure of current routes.

Task 5: Intrinsically Safe Configuration Design

UC will work with Strata and the Mine Safety Testing Centre (MSTC) to test the prototype UAV communication system, and provide test reports demonstrating and providing independent proof, for compliance with national and international IS standards.

Ref Number
Dr Kumudu Munasinghe, University of Canberra
Start date
13 October 2015

Estimated end date
31 March 2016

‘Periodic Musculoskeletal Screen’

Expected Results:

At the completion of the project, CS Health will have demonstrated whether a 30-45 minute musculoskeletal screen can identify risk trends in conjunction with data collected from the Order 41 periodic health surveillance medical. Upon identification of these trends, a targeted intervention can be designed to address the workforce. These results will allow industry to identify training requirements that are associated with specific roles within a mine leading to a reduction in common injuries.

Ref Number
Kristy Prior, Coal Services Health
Start date
03 March 2015

Estimated end date
29 February 2016

‘Respiratory Protection (are our standards protecting worker health or providing a false sense of security’

Project Aims:

To determine whether currently utilised respirator filters effectively filter out Diesel Particulate Matter and provide worker protection; by testing respirator filters used in mining workplaces against DPM, and by measuring the sizes of particles that are penetrating the filters to determine whether that poses an additional health risk for workers.

Ref Number
Jane Whitelaw, University of Wollongong
Start date
Estimated end date
31 July 2016

‘Establishing a bona fide physical assessment and performance standard for Mines Rescue Personnel in NSW’

Expected Results:

This investigation will:

  • Quantify the actual physical and physiological demands for mines rescue activities.
  • Develop an assessment protocol and performance characteristics necessary for the performance of essential mines rescue scenarios.
  • Develop an assessment protocol and performance standard to identify those individuals that have the physical attributes necessary to meet the minimum requirements to perform coal mines rescue activities.
  • Create a formal report of the processes utilised to develop the recommended assessment tool and minimum performance standard. A clear linkage between the physical demands of mines rescue, the proposed assessment protocol and performance standard will be evident within the report. This documentation will assist in the legal defensibility of the adopted assessment and performance standard within Coal Services.
Ref Number
Herbert Groeller, University of Wollongong
Start date
17 November 2015

Estimated end date
31 December 2017

‘Zero harm positive safety culture by applying mindfulness based high-performance, thinking strategies’

Expected Results:
  • Confirmation of a field tested Zero Harm Positive Culture Program to achieve a sustained high-performance safety (including mental health benefits);
  • Confirmation of a field tested real-time Safety Culture measurement tool. Measurement indicators will include typical Safety Performance Measures (Lead and Lag). GSI index outcomes (including qualitative statements) and Safety Culture Interactions Findings.
Ref Number
Alistair Schuback, Aframes Safety
Start date
Estimated end date
29 February 2016

‘Assessing whole-body vibration’

Expected Results:

The outcome of the projects will be a comprehensive and detailed description of the whole body vibration exposures associated with the operation of underground coal mining equipment at two exemplar sites.

Ref Number
Robin Burgess Limerick, University of Queensland
Start date
13 February 2015

Estimated end date
31 March 2016

‘Mine emergency response system demonstrator’

Expected Results:

This project will examine and develop technology that can address information deficiencies following major mine incidents. Information during emergencies is increasingly seen as a critical issue and requirement for emergency response, both in terms of safely committing mines rescuers in high risk situations and also better equipping miners to self-rescue.

Ref Number
Dr Gareth Kennedy, Simtars
Start date
02 December 2015

Estimated end date
15 October 2018