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Current projects

Resilience and Mental Health in Mining

Expected Results: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. Have comprehensive evidence on individual resilience in the NSW coal mining industry and the organizational factors that contribute to resilience and positive mental health in coal mining as well as those that contribute to psychological distress.
  2. Understand the impact of organizational, workplace and personal support factors on resilience and positive mental health in coal mining. This valuable information will allow industry to identify which organisational and workplace programs will promote mental health.
  3. 3. Have developed a mental health promotion model which identifies policies and practices that support resilience in mining. This will inform the implementation of appropriate programs with a shift from an ad-hoc approach to the engagement of key stakeholders in the development of a well-evidenced, industry-wide approach to the promotion of resilience and positive mental health.
Ref Number
20655
Professor
Rebecca Mitchell - Macquarie University
Start date
15 July 2019

Estimated end date
30 September 2022

Optimisation and pilot development of pneumoconiosis detection software

Expected Results: 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
Ref Number
20656
Professor
Dadong Wang - CSIRO
Start date
15 July 2019

Estimated end date
30 June 2022

Health service use and return to work among compensated coal miners

Expected Results:
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:
  • an improved understanding of the incidence and nature of work-related injury/illness in the coal mining industry, and factors that can impact on health service use, recovery and return to work.
  • identification of health service use patterns (e.g. prevalence, intensity, duration) in injured/ill coal miners and other occupations in the coal mining industry, with strategies to address policy and practice gaps relating to health service delivery.
  • improved strategies for managing work-related injury/illness in the coal mining industry by identifying factors associated with successful/unsuccessful return to work pathways.
  • better understanding of the association between health service use and return to work enabling improved case management and other activities designed to support injured/ill workers.
  • recommended policy, institutional and individual options that lead to improved management of work-related injury/illness.
  • enhanced scientific knowledge communicated through shared experiences and publications for use by the national and international scientific community.
  • open and ongoing communication channels with relevant stakeholders in the Coal Industry to translate research output into effective change that will benefit all relevant parties.
Ref Number
20654
Professor
Dr Shannon Gray
Start date
07 December 2018

Estimated end date
31 December 2020

Evaluation and Optimisation of the Performance of Water Spray Dust Suppression Technology within the Coal Mining Industry

Expected Results:
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.
Ref Number
20653
Professor
Dr David Hastie,
Start date
22 January 2020

Estimated end date
31 July 2021

Obesity and Coal Mining: Pilot Intervention

Expected Results:
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.
Ref Number
20650
Professor
Associate Professor Carole James - University of Newcastle
Start date
07 December 2018

Estimated end date
31 December 2020

Characterising the biological effects of particulate matter exposures in coal mining to protect and improve the health of workers

Expected Results:
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.
Ref Number
20649
Professor
Professor Phillip Hansbro, University of Newcastle,
Start date

Estimated end date
31 December 2020

MATES in Mining

Expected Results:
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.
Ref Number
20644
Professor
Jorgen Gullestrup, MATES
Start date
13 November 2017

Estimated end date
31 January 2020

Diesel-free environment for underground Coal Mines

Expected Results:
  • Realisation of diesel-free vehicles for mining occupations. This will be a low speed battery powered vehicle that is explosion protected and designed for the important task of transporting both personnel and materials in underground coal mines.
  • A reference of pioneer vehicle that can be referred to establish other mining vehicles or mobile machines that range from low to high power requirements. Likewise, a standard evaluation procedures for all high energy density battery chemistries for applications in underground coal mining will be available.
  • A wireless charging technology that will be highly versatile in mining occupations since the evolution of electric-powered machinery in underground mines has become ever-increasing to meet the growing emissions, health and energy efficiency concerns.
Ref Number
20637
Professor
Khay See, University of Wollongong
Start date
22 September 2015

Estimated end date
31 July 2018