Analysis of Major Hazard Risk Impacts on Underground Coal Mine Safety Performance

Open Access
Kinilakodi, Harisha
Graduate Program:
Petroleum and Mineral Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 06, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Dr Larry Grayson, Thesis Advisor
  • R Larry Grayson, Thesis Advisor
  • Vladislav Kecojevic, Thesis Advisor
  • Joel B Haight, Thesis Advisor
  • safety performance
  • mine safety
  • performance index
  • citation analysis
  • risk analysis
The underground coal mining industry has been under constant watch due to the high risk involved in its activities and it was made more evident from the disasters that occurred in 2006 –2007. In the aftermath of the incidents, the U.S. Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act), which strengthened the existing regulations and mandated new laws to address the various issues related to a safe working environment in the mines. The National Mining Association-sponsored Mine Safety Technology and Training Commission report highlighted the role of risk analysis and management in identifying and controlling the major-hazards. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a report which evaluated the use of Major Hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) to eliminate multiple-fatality events. Risk analysis should be done on a regular basis to tackle the possibility of unwanted major hazard-related events such as explosions, outburst, airbursts, inundations, spontaneous combustion, and roof fall instabilities. In this pilot study, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) accident/injury and citation databases for the year 2006 were analyzed systematically for a stratified random sample of underground coal mines. Risk analysis of major hazard-related citation was done with help of a risk matrix. Indices for mine safety were determined using a Poisson distribution. Three methods were developed to form a Performance Index (PI) for comparing mines across mine-size and states. Using the PI, a Safe Performance Index (SPI) was formed to rank the good performers (mines). A statistical tool, the Mann-Whitney test was applied on the citation database of some of the mines, and the results have shown that this tool is very helpful for health and safety managers or government enforcement personnel to discriminate the statistically significant differences in compliance performances and not penalize mines with non-significant differences.