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Journal Article


Swanson LR, Bellanca JL, Helton J. Saf. Health Work 2019; 10(4): 461-469.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh Mining Research Division, USA.


(Copyright © 2019, Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute)








BACKGROUND: Collisions involving workers and mobile machines continue to be a major concern in underground coal mines. Over the last 30 years, these collisions have resulted in numerous injuries and fatalities. Recently, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) proposed a rule that would require mines to equip mobile machines with proximity detection systems (PDSs) (systems designed for automated collision avoidance). Even though this regulation has not been enacted, some mines have installed PDSs on their scoops and hauling machines. However, early implementation of PDSs has introduced a variety of safety concerns. Past findings show that workers' trust can affect technology integration and influence unsafe use of automated technologies.

METHODS: Using a mixed-methods approach, the present study explores the effect that factors such as mine of employment, age, experience, and system type have on workers' trust in PDSs for mobile machines. The study also explores how workers are trained on PDSs and how this training influences trust.

RESULTS: The study resulted in three major findings. First, the mine of employment had a significant influence on workers' trust in mobile PDSs. Second, hands-on and classroom training was the most common types of training. Finally, over 70% of workers are trained on the system by the mine compared with 36% trained by the system manufacturer.

CONCLUSION: The influence of workers' mine of employment on trust in PDSs may indicate that practitioners and researchers may need to give the organizational and physical characteristics of each mine careful consideration to ensure safe integration of automated systems.

© 2019 The Authors.

Language: en


automation; mining; occupational safety; proximity detection; trust


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