While the conference name is Longwall USA, it includes of a lot of great technical information for all underground coal operators. As an example, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Health’s (NIOSH) Pittsburgh Research Division have organized two workshops for professionals involved with both longwall and room-and-pillar mining operations.

The first workshop on Monday afternoon, May 20, Preparing Miners and Responders for Emergency Decision-Making, will demonstrate a computer-based training product for emergency decision-making. Using seven separate escape scenarios based on actual events, workshop participants will work through situations where decisions must be made. At every decision point, there are four options to rate in terms of how likely each is to protect the escaping miners. After finishing a scenario, trainees can compare their scores to those of subject matter experts. The trainers will discuss how the product was developed, the response from initial trainees, and ways it can be used for emergency response training.

In the second workshop on Tuesday afternoon, May 21, Competency-Based Self-Escape Training and Assessment, NIOSH will explain how it has identified the knowledge, skills and abilities critical to self-escape that all miners must have. It has also developed a set of competency profiles for self-escape, including task performance criteria for four different employee roles (escape group leader, responsible person, face crew and outby workers). Underground coal operators can use these materials to aid in the development of standardized, competency-based self-escape training and assessment program. This workshop will review NIOSH research and offer fresh ideas on how to develop and implement competency-based training and assessment procedures for their operations.

Longwall USA has a lot to offer for all underground coal mining professionals, check out the entire program at: https://www.longwallusa.com/agenda/.