This study will provide evidence on the current practices and policies that facilitate (or undermine) resilience and positive mental health in the Coal Mining industry. It will provide information on the factors that support resilience at work as well as initiatives that been trialled, how these have been perceived by employees and what outcomes have been achieved. By the end of the project, we expect to:
1. Collected at least 500 chest x-rays with different categories of positive ILOs.
2. Evaluated our automated pneumoconiosis detection tool’s sensitivity and specificity using these additional data. Made necessary modification to the design of the tool, if needed.
3. Developed, trained, and evaluated an automated pneumoconiosis classification tool using the additionally collected data and synthetic images learnt from the real X-ray image data. Such a tool is able to predict an ILO Classification System based category of severity of pneumoconiosis, and, possibly, the correct shape and size of parenchymal opacities that are main signs of pneumoconiosis in chest x-rays.
4. Developed a user-friendly front end to the detection and classification tools and delivered the software to CSH. This pilot software is used retrospectively on 5% of images routinely collected by CSH and evaluated against expert radiologists’ examination results. The feedback from the pilot study will be used to further improve functionality and performance of our automated tools
Cutting edge analytical approaches will be applied to Coal Services claims data over the 12-month project period to develop an in-depth understanding of the patterns of health service use and return to work pathways among injured workers in the coal mining industry.
The study will produce multiple important outputs including two reports and a final presentation of all findings, with relevant and useful interpretation of results that can be utilised by Coal Services to guide future management of injured workers. Specifically, this study will contribute to:
The main outcomes will be the identification of critical properties/factors that should be measured at a mine site and the development of a set of relationships so that nozzle design/positioning, spray properties, etc. can be matched correctly to the dust and on-site conditions for a specific location, so that dust suppression (dust control) efficiency can be maximised.
This will provide the industry with best practice guidelines and allow for a more accurate engineering approach to the design and application of water spraying dust suppression systems in coal mines (with minimal water consumption).
Properties studied including dust particle size distribution, dust concentration, particle composition (via sampling), air velocity, droplet size distribution, droplet concentration, droplet velocity and spray flow rate (water usage) will become part of a database of information that can be used as reference material in future design guidelines.
This research will provide valuable information for organisations about the challenges and benefits of introducing and implementing a healthy weight framework and initiative into the workplace.
This project has anticipated outcomes of a reduction in weight at the individual level, but importantly the project is about mine site ownership and engagement in the entire RESHAPE process. The process involves consultation with employees and selecting interventions that best-fit the workforce and site needs is necessary to ensure sustainability.
Attention must also be given to embedding this practice into health and safety organisation policy. There are also subsequent health benefits of a healthier workforce at the company level and overflow benefits to family and coal mining communities. The literature indicates a reduction in prevalence of overweight and obesity would lead to significant social and economic benefits for individuals, the community and the workplace.
Research results include dissemination of findings at a mine level, in academic peer reviewed journals and at appropriate industry relevant conferences.
At present, it is not clear how the existing standards for safe workplace exposure to coal dust have been generated, with the literature and the evidence upon which they are based pre-dating current mining practices. The advancement of coal technology, from the coalface to techniques of preparation, has not been replicated and/or complemented by a consistent development of supporting guidelines for safe exposures to PM along the handling and transportation chain.
It is unknown if Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) protocols appropriately incorporate the levels of exposure to different types of coal dust (e.g. fines and tailings). Coal dust type will differ (e.g. chemical elements and compounds) due to coal seam composition variation and mining method (e.g. long wall vs open-cut mining). Coal dust type will also have different levels of effects on respiratory health, depending on the dust constituent properties, concentration and duration of exposure.
We will address these important issues and define improved, evidence-based standards for safe exposure to different types of coal dust in Australian mining sites and transport and handling corridors. We will do this by characterising the biological and health effects of exposures to different types and levels of coal dust found in the workplace, from the mining source to the port and including all handling and transportation operations, with the goal of informing new regulations for re-defining risk, early identification of effects and safe PM exposures for coal and associated workers.
MATES in Construction has been well evaluated and been found to; have high social validity within the construction industry, improving knowledge around suicidality as well as promoting increased help seeking and help offering. The program has been associated with reduction in suicide rates in the Queensland construction industry against the state trend over the same period. This project will test the transferability of MATES in Construction to the mining industry as an ongoing industry based and run mental health and suicide prevention program. Program evaluation will focus on showing improved mental health, help seeking and help offering as well as improved mental health literacy amongst the workforce. The project will also seek to show reduced stigma around suicide and mental health issues generally across the industry.