Mining Health & Safety

The U.S. has made great strides in reducing the incidence of occupational diseases, injuries, and fatalities since the passage of the Federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Acts of 1969 and 1977. Another major step was taken in 2006 when Congress passed the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act (MINER Act). The 2006 legislation amended the prior law to require mine-specific emergency response plans in underground coal mines, added new regulations regarding mine rescue teams and sealing of abandoned areas, required prompt notification of mine incidents, and enhanced civil penalties. To maintain this progress and protect the lives of working men and women, the United States needs experts trained in mine safety and health to serve in industry, government, and academia.


Accordingly, the CARERC Mine Health and Safety (MHS) training program seeks to:

  1. Identify and recruit strong MS and PhD candidates with interest in mine health and safety.

  2. Provide trainees with graduate education in mine health and safety areas including, but not limited to, those associated with Central Appalachian miners, such as the increasing incidence of CWP, mine ventilation and dust control, ground control, explosives and blasting safety, mine electrical safety, miner tracking and communications, and emerging technologies such as autonomous mining and applications of virtual reality for safety/emergency response training.

  3. Provide trainees with health and safety training with an interdisciplinary approach by improving and refining the mine health and safety curriculum, assisting trainees in obtaining practical experience through involvement in health and safety research projects or internships, and providing educational experiences at conferences and workshops.

  4. Produce graduates with the skills necessary to work as engineers in roles that are critical to health and safety such as mining engineers, safety engineers, and members of an occupational/ environmental health and safety team.

  5. Continue to support appropriate CE opportunities developed by the faculty and continue to improve our process for program evaluation with the professional assistance of the Evaluation Center staff in the College of Education.

Opportunities for Research: All M.S. and Ph.D. students in the Mine Health & Safety training program have opportunities to work on research projects and obtain support; e.g.,

  • Pilot Grants – The CARERC seed grant program, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $15,000.

  • Graduate and Staff Research Positions – We anticipate that most doctoral students, after completing the first two years of study supported by stipends, will be funded as Graduate Research Assistants and work with a funded research project.

  • External Grants – When appropriate, students in the later stages of their dissertation work will be encouraged to apply for external funding.