Improving Mine Safety Technology and Training in the U.S. Recommendations of the Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission


The key issues studied focused on underground coal mining and included (1) prevention of explosions in sealed areas, (2) better emergency preparedness and response, (3) improvement of miners' ability to escape, (4) better protection of miners before and after a fire or explosion, (5) improved provision of oxygen, and (6) development and implementation of more robust post-incident communication. The U.S. Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, which mandated new laws to address the issues. Concurrent with investigations and congressional deliberations, the National Mining Association formed the independent Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission to study the state-of-the-art relative to technology and training that could address the vulnerabilities exposed by the mine disasters. As discussed, the report outlined persistent vulnerabilities linked with significant hazards in underground coal mines, and made recommendations to provide a path for addressing them. Overall the commission report made 75 recommendations in the areas of risk-based design and management, communications technology, emergency response and mine rescue procedures, training for preparedness, and escape and protection strategies. In its deliberations, the commission importantly noted that mine safety in the U.S. needs to follow a new paradigm for ensuring mine safety and developing a culture of prevention that supports safe production at the business core. In the commission's viewpoint, the bottom line in protecting coal miners is not only adopting a culture of prevention but also systematically pursuing mitigation of significant risks.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Mine Disasters; Mine Safety; New Safety Paradigm; Risk Management

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1006-9097; 1866-6566

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2008 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2008