Dean appointed to national mine safety committee

WELL known industry expert and West Virginia University mining and industrial extension program director Jim Dean has been tapped to serve on a committee that will examine what is needed for miners to escape in an accident before help arrives.
Dean appointed to national mine safety committee Dean appointed to national mine safety committee Dean appointed to national mine safety committee Dean appointed to national mine safety committee Dean appointed to national mine safety committee

West Virginia University's Jim Dean.

Donna Schmidt

The study, advised by the National Research Council and sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, will focus on understanding “self-escape” topics such as decision-making in uncertain and stressful times, training of personnel in high-risk professions, technology such as signaling which may aid in self-escape, the physiological and biomechanical effects of stress and also systems approaches to improve likelihood of escape.

While the nine-person panel will focus on underground coal mining, the recommendations will also be beneficial to other types of underground mining.

“Our departmental instructors are working cooperatively with mine safety personnel and labor representatives to ensure miners have the highest quality training experience possible,” Dean said.

“I am honored to be selected to serve as a member of this committee.”

Dean’s extensive background in the industry, particularly mine safety issues, includes acting director of the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training. He was appointed to the post by then-governor Joe Manchin following the fatal Sago and Aracoma disasters in 2006.

He worked to develop consensus standards for self-contained self rescuer requirements as well as refuge chambers and mine communication and tracking systems during his state tenure and the committee’s resulting findings served as a template for outlines within the MINER Act of 2006.

Dean still works with the West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Task Force, which was established to look at new technology, mine safety and mine emergency operations improvements. He also has worked while at WVU to help develop a mobile SCSR training gallery and a simulated underground mine for emergency response training.

“Jim has done an outstanding job of leading a very high profile outreach unit for the university,” Glen H Hiner dean of the Statler College Gene Cilento said.

“His vision and insight have led to the development of innovative facilities that directly contribute to important safety training and will lead to new cutting-edge applied research to support mining operations.”

The committee is chaired by Ohio State University industrial engineering professor William Marras and is scheduled to meet five times over the next months.