Miner-Centered Approach to Understanding Technology Needs for Self-Escape in Underground Coal Mine Emergencies


Several underground coal mining disasters, such as Upper Big Branch in 2010, have revealed technological and organizational shortcomings related to self-escape. Efforts to address these gaps have primarily been top-down, that is, identified and implemented by upper management or external governing bodies. In contrast, this study employs a novel miner-centered approach to identify perceived technological boundaries to self-escape. Using a semi-structured, scenario-based survey, we elicit direct feedback from miners about current, emerging, and hypothetical technologies aimed at improving self-escape during mine emergencies. The results show a general high usefulness rating across all 21 technologies in the survey. Miners who work underground (both outby and working face miners) appear to give higher usefulness ratings overall than miners on the surface and other locations. This work will be directly applied to a series of proof of concept and prototype studies on self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs), refuge alternatives (RA), and communication devises aimed at improving self-escape technologies through miner-centered research and design.


Mining Engineering

Second Department

Psychological Science

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Article - Conference proceedings

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Publication Date

01 Jan 2022

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