TECHNOLOGY, OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THE GERMAN HARD COAL MINING INDUSTRY
Increases in productivity and improvements in mining occupational safety and health are intrinsically linked. Over the past years, the German Hard Coal Mining Industry has been able to accomplish both: an increase in coal production and, at the same time, a significantly reduction of accidents. This success has been achieved by advances in technology, better organization and investment in people. Since 1990 productivity has more than doubled, while the total number of accidents has been reduced by more than 90%.
Further development started initially with the mechanisation of the winning and drivage technology.
Innovative technology and standardisation of the mining equipment were one reason for the increase in productivity and reduction of the accident rate. Therefore this technical development was not only one important pillar of the TOM model explicated later but also the requirement for the successful
development of the other pillars. In addition to further developing this innovative technology it was
possible to realise procedural and organisational improvements. As a result, the above achievement is
based on implementing the three pillars of the so-called "TOM" model (technology, organization,
“Mensch” = human). To increase safety, improve performance, raise awareness and change of employees’ attitude, the following technical and organizational requirements have been introduced:
• New innovative technology and procedures, standardized techniques and better equipment.
• Measures to revise or redefine the organizational structure, processes and systems of work, which were then integrated into the company policy and procedures as a company management tool.
• Personnel measures (investment in people). These include improving motivation and behaviour, training, communication to raise and to change awareness of safety issues.
Success in Occupational Health and Safety is not an automatic or self-regulating process. It needs hard work to make improvements and it must be treated as a recurring cyclic process. As a result of the above, occupational health and safety has become a natural part of daily work in the German Hard Coal Mining Industry. This could only be achieved by the unconditional "commitment" of all managers and employees to the issues, coupled with discipline and responsible action. Further improvements towards the ultimate aim of "zero" accidents are only possible by mutual involvement in implementing the “TOM” (technology, organization and ‘Mensch’ human) model.
Safety; Technology; Accidents; Coal Mining; Development; Developments; Coal; Improvements; Improvement;