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Introduction; Strategies For Improving Miners’ Training
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  • Description:
    This Information Circular from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) documents and supplements the information presented in a series of workshops held during 2002 and 2003. The primary intended audience consists of all who are involved in developing and conducting miners' training. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), mine operators reported 240,000 full-time equivalent workers and independent contractors reported 42,000 full-time equivalent workers working on mine property during the year 2000. Unfortunately, these workers have a relatively high risk of suffering serious work-related injuries and illnesses. The mining industry has the highest rate of occupational fatalities among all U.S. industries. The fatality rate is 30 deaths per 100,000 workers compared to 4.6 for all private industry (Morbidity and Mortality Week Report, 2001; NIOSH, 2002). Compared to workers in other industries, miners also have a relatively high rate of nonfatal lost-time injuries, and their injuries tend to be more severe (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999). Many miners are also exposed to significant health hazards, including coal and silica dust, diesel exhaust, and noise. More than 1000 U.S. miners die of lung disease each year (NIOSH, 1999). Mine safety and health professionals have long recognized training as a critical element of an effective safety and health program. Federal regulations (30 CFR, Parts 46 and 48) require mine operators to provide initial safety and health training to all new miners, as well as a minimum of 8 hours of refresher training each year. The time and money being spent to train U.S. miners is substantial, and so there is a strong and steady demand for new and better mine training materials and methods. A growing concern among mine safety professionals regards the training of new workers. A major change in the mining workforce is anticipated within the next decade. In major segments of mining, especially coal, relatively few workers have been hired since the 1970's. Thus, as an entire cohort of miners in the current workforce nears retirement, the replacement of these employees will require an influx of new workers. New miners may be young people who lack the ability to recognize and respond to mining hazards in an appropriate manner. They may also have had different educational experiences than their older counterparts. Many safety professionals believe that these two cohorts require different approaches to training. The papers in this report should help prepare mine trainers for the changes about to occur in the workforce and acquaint them with strategies they can use to enhance the effectiveness of their training. The first three papers present basic principles for teaching adults. The five remaining papers are intended to illustrate how these principles can be applied to the development and imple¬mentation of effective training for miners. Below is an overview of these papers. 1. Kowalski and Vaught review the process and principles of adult learning. The learning model they present includes a discussion of goals, content, delivery, assessment, and remediation. Adults are viewed as active learners, experienced-based, expert in their own right in specific areas, independent, real-life centered, task-centered, problem-centered, solution-driven, skill-seeking, self-directing, and internally and externally motivated. Basic aspects of curriculum development are briefly reviewed. For further information about adult learning, see Camm and Cullen's paper. 2. Mallett and Reinke's first paper discusses issues related to training new miners who have recently or will soon be entering the mining workforce. These new generations of miners have different learning style preferences and training needs than Baby Boomers and other older miners. Even trainers who have been highly effective in the past should reassess their training styles and their classroom materials to d

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