Title: Workplace risk assessment and control of fires and explosions in underground coal mines

Authors: Mahesh Shriwas; Christopher Pritchard

Addresses: University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1760 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks, Alaska-99775, USA ' 1464 44th Ave, Greeley, CO 80634, USA

Abstract: On 19 December 1984, the Wilberg mine fire resulted in 27 deaths, and on 5 April 2010, the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion caused an additional 29 fatalities. Investigations of these events suggested that they may have been prevented if the hazard-associated risks had been correctly identified to comply with existing standards and control measures. These investigations - comprised of reports and published papers - were reviewed to identify contributing factors that resulted in the disasters. This study applied the workplace risk assessment and control (WRAC) risk tool to identify contributing hazards and rank the corresponding risks. This study included major contributing hazards that led to the Wilberg mine fire and Upper Big Branch explosion, and also proposed new controls that could have prevented their occurrence. The outcome of this study provides a framework for applying WRAC in coal mines to improve miner safety and health.

Keywords: workplace; safety; risk; mine; fire; explosion; coal; hazard; ventilation; methane.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMME.2020.109637

International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering, 2020 Vol.11 No.3, pp.228 - 239

Received: 06 Dec 2019
Accepted: 19 May 2020

Published online: 07 Sep 2020 *

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