research in other mining sectors should also be emphasized. Strategic planning should occur on a regular basis to discuss potential Mining Program responses to emerging trends in production and processes. To maintain a viable research program at reasonable cost, NIOSH and the Mining Program should ensure the permanent availability of the Lake Lynn Facility.
The Mining Program should take a more proactive approach to identifying and controlling hazards. At present, the Mining Program sets most of its research priorities in response to stakeholder input or events, which helps ensure the applicability of the resulting research outputs. However, using surveillance data in combination with expanded external input to identify key priorities would help the Mining Program develop a more proactive approach to hazard identification and control.
The Mining Program interacts with numerous researchers, regulators, and other stakeholders and goes to great lengths to establish successful and mutually beneficial relationships. The following recommendations are intended to improve these interactions.
The Mining Program should increase interaction with other NIOSH programs, including the Respiratory Disease Program, and individual programs within the Division of Safety Research and the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies. Ideally, research personnel with medical, epidemiological, engineering, geological, and industrial hygiene experience should work together as a research team to help address workplace issues including work organization research. Additionally, full advantage should be taken of NIOSH’s Mine Safety and Health Research Advisory Committee (MSHRAC) by adequately challenging it with substantial assignments. MSHRAC’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations should be considered more fully in the Mining Program’s decision-making process.
The committee recognizes the high level of cooperation between the Mining Program and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and notes this partnership is essential for advancements in miner health and safety. Based on presentations from the acting director and others at MSHA (Dye et al., 2006),