An Interactive Digital Manual For Safety Around Conveyor Belts In Surface Mining

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Virginia Tech

Belt conveyor accidents are mainly attributed to negligence of safety procedures during maintenance work. Entanglement, falling from heights, & collapse of structure or loose materials are the main cause of accidents. While performing maintenance tasks such as cleaning, installation and repair, belt alignment and so on (Lucas et. al. 2007).

Current industry safety programs provide general guidelines for safety training, but do not require any specific training program structure (Shultz, 2002 and Shultz, 2003). For example MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) only requires 24 hours of training. Typically this training is broken down into four hours of training before the employee starts work, the remaining 20 hours has to be performed within the first sixty days of work (Goldbeck, 2003). The information collected through site visits showed that in addition to completing MSHA safety training requirements companies try to reinforce safety issues through daily and weekly safety meetings on job sites. Due to lack of a required safety training structure, every company is independent in terms of their training format that they follow to train their new and experienced work force. As a result, safety engineers depend heavily on in-house safety programs (e.g. audio-video presentations) to deliver the required training hours specified by MSHA for miners.

Based on a review of current training methods this research identifies four problems; existing training methods to educate miners about dangers involved in conveyor belt environments are mainly passive, safety related information in scattered in various media such as images, videos, paper manuals, etc., access to information in current format is difficult, and updating information is difficult.

This research addressed these identified problems by devising a new approach of learning to augment existing methods of training and evaluate the potential of this concept as a safety-training tool. Research has shown that individuals have their own learning style in which they can increase their retention and stimulate their cognitive learning. The proposed work addresses issues relative to passive vs. active learning and classroom-based vs. self-paced training by developing and implementing an interactive multimedia-based safety-training tool called the Digital Safety Manual (DSM). After the DSM was developed it was put through a series of usability evaluation and subjective analysis to measure the potential of the concept. The evaluation and subjective analysis involved both the novice and expert users.

The results that were yield after the evaluations and subjective analysis shows that the DSM has more learning advantages than the typical training methods and it can be used as a supplementary training method to complement the current approaches of training.

cognitive learning, passive training, evaluation, feedback, Conveyor belt, safety, training, self-paced learning, multimedia, surface mining