Why did South Dakota Mines receive a grant for $120,000

Developers of mine safety VR program

Developers of mine safety VR program

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Since 2004, The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has been giving grants to South Dakota Mines for the purpose of training people on mine safety. Since then, 4,500 people have gone through the program.

What is MSHA?

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has been around since 1978 and is in charge of creating regulations with the goal of keeping miners safe. In a way, it’s similar to OSHA, but specifically for mining.

What is the grant for?

The $120,000 grant was given to SD Mines with the purpose of developing new techniques for training people on mine safety. SD Mines has been given grants for training since 2004, but only a couple of years ago did they also receive a grant to come up with more effective ways to train people.

“People are getting injured every year, even though they are trained. So MSHA believes that the annual training every year they have to get refresher training going to help reduce the number of injuries and accidents in the mining industry.”, said Dr. Purushotham Tukkaraja, Associate Professor of Mining Engineering at SD Mines

What new training techniques did Mines develop?

A PhD student created a virtual reality program with two different modules: one of identifying hazards and another for fire extinguisher training.

Why is VR a better way to learn?

VR allows people to get “hands-on” experience with the material that they learn through other traditional training methods like presentations and videos. The virtual hands-on training makes it easier for people to cement the newly learned material into their brains without having to be put into dangerous and expensive situations. An average of 250 people go through the training at SD Mines every year, and it can be very expensive to get everybody real experience with fire extinguishers and the other equipment. Actually seeing and physically pointing out hazards, even in VR, is one of the most effective ways to learn the safety material.

Categories: Local News