Reducing Risks associated with Mining Equipment

Assessing and managing the injury risks associated with mining equipment has been another long standing program of research at MISHC. Prof. Jim Joy's ACARP funded work on the human factors issues associated surface mining equipment stimulated the creation in 2006 of the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (, a collaborative organisation supported by 14 international mining companies with the common goal of assisting mining equipment manufacturers reducing injury risks through improvements in equipment design. Other past projects conducted by MISHC staff have resulted in a range of publications including two editions of a handbook titled "Reducing injury risks associated with underground coal mining equipment" ( and a CRC press book titled "Human Factors for the Design Operation and Maintenance of Mining Equipment" ( Other projects have involved the use of virtual environments for addressing human factors issues associated with mining equipment in collaboration with the School of Human Movement Studies. Work continues in collaboration with EMESRT (including development of the EMERST Design Evaluation for Equipment Procurement process, and with NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research.

Musculoskeletal Injury Risks associated with Mining

Reducing manual tasks injury risks through implementation of participative ergonomics programs has been a long standing research program within MISHC. Early work was conducted with funding from the Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, and the Australian Coal Association Research Program. These projects resulted the publication of a handbook titled "Reducing Musculoskeletal Risk in Open Cut Mining" ( and have been widely cited in government advisory documents. The work continues in the USA through a collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines. More recent work is being undertaken in the area of measuring and managing the exposures to whole-body vibration at mine sites. This project has been funded by Rio Tinto Coal and the Coal Services Health and Safety Trust. Further grant proposals are under consideration by the Australian Coal Association Research Program and the Alpha Foundation for Mine Safety and Health Research (in collaboration with the University of Washington). Whole-body vibration management:

Human Factors, Safe Design, New Technologies and Transport Safety

The increasing appreciation of the importance of the human element in the worldwide minerals industry is partly due to our recent work. Since 2007, our task at the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) at the University of Queensland has been to create and apply human factors knowledge in mining and transport, so producing operator-centred approaches to improve safety and work performance. In addition to our substantial industry engagement and practical contributions, we have published our work extensively: this has included 33 peer-reviewed papers in 2010-2012 for Horberry, and his two recent books ‘Understanding Human Error in Mine Safety’ and ‘Human Factors for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of Mining Equipment’ were the first written about mining human factors for over 20 years. We regularly collaborate with the best research groups internationally, such as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (USA), the University of Granada (Spain) and the University of Cambridge (UK).


A significant project undertaken by MISHC since 2010 has been the development of RISKGATE, an online risk management system designed to support and assist in the analysis of priority unwanted events in Australian coal mining operations. This project has received more than three million dollars from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP), and represents ACARP’s largest financial contribution toward health and safety research. RISKGATE has garnered phenomenal coal mining industry support, with major coal mining companies, such as Anglo American, BHP/BMA, Centennial Coal, Glencore, Peabody and Rio Tinto contributing to the development the RISKGATE body of knowledge. To date, experts from these companies have attended more than 130 days of RISKGATE workshops. The website we are developing is The home page has a 10 minute video giving more detailed information regarding the site. Workshops will continue throughout 2013 on Coal Mining Hazards: Coal Bumps & Bursts, Inrush, Interface, Occupational Hygiene, Outbursts and Tailings Dams. For more information on RISKGATE, please contact Professor David Cliff (

Major Hazard Management and Emergency Preparedness

Spontaneous combustion, fires, explosions, gas analysis, emergency preparedness, incident management, hours of work and OHS, occupational hygiene, fatigue, fitness for duty, coal mine fires, respirable dust, noise, occupational health and safety in mining.