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The Mining Healthy Worksite Program (Cherniack 2016)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Cherniack, M. (2016). The Mining Healthy Worksite Program. (Grant No. AFC113-9). Philadelphia, PA: Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health, Inc.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP) on mine worker health and safety outcomes.
  • The study used a nonexperimental design to assess self-reported health and safety knowledge after mining apprentices completed underground mining or surface mining MHWP courses. Using survey data, the author conducted statistical models to examine differences in outcomes between the groups.
  • The study found a significant positive relationship between knowledge and transfer of training in the Hearing Loss and Prevention module for both surface and underground mining apprentices. The study also found that participation in the surface mining course was significantly associated with higher knowledge scores than the underground mining course.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP); other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP)

Features of the Intervention

The Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP) was a health and safety training program developed as part of a course at West Virginia University-Mining and Industrial Extension (WVU-MIE). In 2016, the MHWP curriculum was updated to include specialized program materials and assessments. Additionally, MHWP expanded beyond WVU-MIE and became required for apprentice certification and experienced miner recertification. MHWP served as the health component of the one-day MSHA-required annual refresher training for all miners. With assistance from the West Virginia Board of Miner, Training, Education, and Certification, MHWP training materials were disseminated to all certified trainers and sites across West Virginia.

The MHWP included two different Health and Sanitation training courses for mining apprentices: one for underground mining and one for surface mining. The underground mining course included six modules and the surface mining course included seven modules. Both courses included modules in the following domains: (1) Lung Disease; (2) Injury and Musculoskeletal Diseases (MSD); (3) Drugs Intoxicants and Alcohol; (4) Hearing Loss and Prevention (Noise); and (5) Lifestyle Factors and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). The underground mining course included an additional module on Sanitation Laws and the surface mining course included additional modules on Miners and Operators' Rights and Responsibilities and Outdoor Risks. All miners who completed the Health and Sanitation course were required to fill out an end-of-course evaluation survey. The survey assessed the quality of presentation for each module, perceptions of training effectiveness, content knowledge, and expected application to daily life.

Features of the Study

The nonexperimental study was conducted in West Virginia. The sample included 97 mining apprentices who enrolled in the Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP) from January to June 2016 and completed the course evaluation. This included 78 surface mining and 19 underground mining apprentices. Training impact was measured as knowledge acquisition and anticipated transfer of training. Knowledge was measured using true/false and multiple-choice questions pertaining to the content for each module. The anticipated transfer of training was measured using a rating scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Using the end-of-course evaluation survey data, the author examined the relationship between acquired knowledge and anticipated transfer of knowledge. Additionally, the author conducted statistical analyses to examine differences in knowledge and transfer of training between surface mining and underground mining apprentices.

Findings

Health and safety

  • The study found a significant positive relationship between knowledge and transfer of training for the Noise module, indicating that participants who acquired and retained knowledge about hearing loss and prevention perceive that knowledge as useful in daily life.
  • The study found no significant relationships between knowledge and transfer of training for the other MHWP modules.
  • The study found that MHWP course type was significantly associated with knowledge scores, with higher knowledge scores among surface mining apprentices (79%) than underground mining apprentices (70%).
  • The study did not find a significant relationship between MHWP course type and anticipated transfer of training.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The author did not measure content knowledge prior to participation in the MHWP course. Further, the author did not account for preexisting differences between the groups before program participation as required by the protocol. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not MHWP course—could explain the observed differences in the outcome. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Mining Healthy Worksite Program (MHWP); other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

August 2020