Underground mines are dangerous environments that often include dust, confined spaces and poor visibility. Statistics show that slip, trip, and fall (STF) accidents are the second leading cause of accidents in underground mining. A cap lamp is the most important source of light for miners who depend heavily on visual cues to detect STF hazards and strike and pinning hazards posed by mining machinery.
While recent cap lamps have begun to incorporate light-emitting diode (LED) technology, the functionality of these cap lamps has been essentially unchanged since the 1914 Edison cap lamp.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) LED cap lamp design improves worker safety by better distributing light using specialized, programmable optics. This helps workers see the immediate hazards in their surroundings more easily. Human subject test results comparing the NIOSH cap lamp to commercially available LED cap lamps show detection time improvements of up to 194% in floor hazard detection and up to 79% in peripheral motion detection, and also as much as 54% reduction in disability glare.
The knowledge gained from this research has resulted in five major changes in the international standard for cap lamps, benefitting miners world-wide. It is also expected to crossover to other industries and benefit other workers that use personal lighting such as military, security, and search and rescue personnel.
John Sammarco, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Miguel Reyes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Timothy Matty, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sean Gallagher, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Timothy Lutz, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Grant King, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention