2014 NIOSH Awards

The Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award created and conferred by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognizes mines and companies who have made an extraordinary effort, above and beyond the mandatory requirements, to apply technologies in ways that will improve mine worker safety or health. The goal of this award is to promote the identification, adoption, and dissemination of safety and health technologies throughout the mining industry.

The award winners in 2014 are:

Metal/Nonmetal Award – Freeport-McMorRan Inc.
An Integrated Approach to Real Time Data Analysis for Changing Ground Conditions

The safety of miners in open pit operations is highly dependent on understanding changing ground conditions using data from numerous types of sensing technologies. To implement its vision of a safety based geomechanical program, Freeport-McMoRan has embraced existing and emerging technologies and has created active partnerships with various data collection, information systems and technical providers. Through this cooperative effort, a system was developed that consolidates large sets of raw and processed data from many data streams, can produce early alarms based on movement outside of predicted trends, and analyze ground behavior to provide geomechanical engineers timely and accurate notifications to support appropriate actions. Importantly, this integrated approach to real time data analysis and automated alarms represents the next big step in safety improvements that can be applied to many different surface and underground mining operations.

Coal Award – Keystone Mining Services, LLC/Jennmar Corporation and Signal Peak Energy
An Innovative Technology Solution to Improve Safety During Longwall Recovery Operations

Coal miners can be exposed to many hazards during the difficult process of a longwall recovery. Jennmar, and its engineering affiliate company, Keystone Mining Services, working together with Signal Peak Energy personnel, developed and demonstrated a successful method to greatly reduce the exposure of miners to hazardous conditions during this process. This method made longwall recovery history by successfully mining into a 42-foot wide full-face recovery entry that was first bolted, meshed, and then completely back-filled with a specially formulated, cuttable, low density concrete that was pumped from the surface. As a result of the coordination and cooperation between Jennmar and Signal Peak, an innovative use of this technology was developed resulting in improved safety during longwall recovery operations.