New technology to improve underground mine safety in development by WVU engineers – My Buckhannon

Technology created by engineers at West Virginia University will improve safety in underground mines by reducing the likelihood of “fall of ground” related accidents, one of the leading causes of injuries in underground mines, which occurs when part of the roof or a pillar collapses.

Ihsan Berk Tulu, assistant professor of mining engineering in the Statler College of Engineering Mineral Resources, will develop mine-specific, geology-dependent pillar sting support design tools that will be immediately available to the mining industry thanks to a $450,000 award from the Alpha Foundation.

According to Tulu, despite progress in reducing ground control related fatalities injuries in mines, coal miners are still at risk from roof collapses falling debris while working underground.

A recent report by the Mine Health Safety Administration revealed that fall of ground incidents still account for almost 30 percent of the occupational fatalities in underground coal mines, out of these ground control related fatal accidents, 25 percent of them were in longwall mines. For fatalities related to ground control, 80 percent of them have occurred in areas with roof support. This project aims to improve the safety by enhancing current ground control design tools, Tulu explained.

“The ultimate goal of this research is to improve the safety of mine workers in regional mining operations in Appalachia, the U.S. around the world,” Tulu said. “Therefore, this research will serve WVU’s mission as a l-gr institution by improving the safety of West Virginia the U.S. residents who are working
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