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jan Johansson Magnus Nygren Joel Lööw
Researchers in Human Work Science at Luleå University of Technology: Jan Johansson, Professor, Magnus Nygren, PhD student and Joel Lööw, PhD student. Photo: Melina Granberg View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Fewer mine accidents with new approaches to safety

Published: 3 April 2018

Accidents in the Swedish mining industry have decreased, but people still get seriously injured and sometimes the worst imaginable happens. Now, researchers at Luleå University of Technology aim to find strategies and ways of improving safety, in a project financed by Vinnova and conducted in close cooperation with the industry.

– We will focus both on safety in the underground mines and in the processing above ground. The project involves mining companies and major contractors who carry out more specialized assignments. Our research takes a holistic approach, which distinguishes the project, says Magnus Nygren, PhD student in Human Work Science.

Lack of research on proactive work  approaches

The research starts with an initial quantitative survey of Swedish and international mining companies. In step two, interviews with miners and managers in the mines are conducted. The goal is to find out which practices and strategies that have been successful in preventing accidents, and why they have worked.

– There are good examples of companies that apparently have succeeded in their safety work. In this project, we want to capture them, systematize them and create methods that improve safety. That research has so far been lacking in the Swedish mining industry, says Magnus Nygren.

A good safety culture starts with the management

Risk prevention, routines and a good safety culture are needed in order to avoid mine accidents.

– By doing a risk analysis for all jobs, it is possible to predict what might go wrong. But in some cases, safety is overlooked due to time pressure, says Joel Lööw, PhD student in Human Work Science.

The researchers argue that time pressure may be particularly noticeable for entrepreneurs who often get perform quick jobs and short contracts. Jan Johansson, Professor of Human Work Science, says that time pressure is basically a result of poorly planned work. Magnus Nygren agrees and explains the importance of a structured leadership with leaders who prioritize safety. Participating in safety meetings with miners is one example of the building blocks in creating a good safety culture.

– In a well-functioning safety culture, miners help each other follow the safety regulations, but there are not so many who have reached this far yet. There have been many improvements in the work environment of the mining industry, and the number of accidents has decreased, but one cannot be satisfied just yet. The problems must be addressed, concludes Jan Johansson.


Jan Johansson

Jan Johansson, Professor, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491412
Organisation: Human Work Sciences, Humans and Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts
Joel Lööw

Joel Lööw, Associate Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 493411
Organisation: Human Work Sciences, Humans and Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts
Magnus Nygren

Magnus Nygren, Associate Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 491767
Organisation: Human Work Sciences, Humans and Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts

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