Completed projects to be covered will be Whole Body Vibration, Diesel Particulate Exposure, Occupational Hygiene Manual update and Effective Health Education. In December 2000, the Health and Safety Trust commissioned seven new small research projects into issues associated with the health of coal mine workers. Some of the questions being posed in the projects are:
- Can a national database be established that would provide for identification of emerging health trends and benchmarking between workforces in various sectors?
- What is the mortality rate for Australian miners associated with heart disease, what is the current prevalence of heart disease and what are the work and lifestyle factors associated with heart disease? Carmel Bofinger will provide an update during the seminar.
- What noise training is given to coal miners and how can it be improved?
- Can a standardised assessment procedure classify low back injured patients in a way that helps guide treatment?
- What are the benefits of various ergonomics program intervention designed to improve OH&S outcomes in the coal industry?
- Can a web-based accident analysis system be implemented effectively?
- Is there a loss of respiratory function due to exposure to high levels of coal dust?
As well, projects are being funded that will look at speech intelligibility underground, computer simulation training, and development of an Acoustic Energy Meter by Strata Engineering, to aid in improving the sensitivity and reliability of roof sounding for detecting potentially unstable roof.
Russell Frith of Strata Engineering said the Acoustic Energy Meter was first developed by British Coal and has since been used in South African mines to check the competency of the immediate roof in underground mining.
Strata Engineering has the exclusive rights to market the technology which Frith expects to be available towards the end of the year. Initial trials will be conducted in coal mines, particularly in conglomerate mines with very competent roof conditions.