February 13, 2018
The University of Arizona (UA) Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the UA Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources received a $1.6 million three-year federal grant funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to develop more effective mining safety training methods, Occupational Health & Safety reports. Researchers will develop training that uses “serious” computer games designed to replicate a realistic mining environment where mine workers will be put in dynamic situations to make decisions and see the consequences.
The UA research team has worked on mining industry training games before, having licensed an interactive training program developed at the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources. For the NIOSH study, it will create a nationwide network to share best safety practices in partnership with McCraren Compliance, a company that provides mining and other occupational training safety services; the Arizona State Mine Inspector office, Mine Safety and Health Administration grant recipients, and other local and national mining companies and trainers.
“Serious games allow a trainer to utilize the effectiveness of on-the-job training, while not exposing the new miner to physical harm,” Glenna Smith, CMSP, safety professional at McCraren Compliance, told the news agency. “Mistakes are life’s greatest teachers, and with serious games, new miners learn these lessons in a safe environment.”