Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 7 million
To improve technical methods for controlling and monitoring environmental factors in mines and to study the relationships between these factors and health with a view to making the mining industry as safe and healthy as possible.


Pursuant to Article 55 of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the Commission is required to promote technical and economic research relating to occupational safety in the coal and steel industries. The funds for this aid are derived from levies imposed on the production of coal and steel as provided for in Article 49 of the ECSC Treaty.

Details on the establishment of the 1977-1981 "Industrial Hygiene in Mines" programme were published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (No C 159 of 5.7.1978). The programme was a continuation of three earlier research programmes related to dust control and health in mines dating back to 1957 which examined aspects of the prevention of pneumoconiosis as well as the problems posed by mine air pollutants other than dust, notably those arising from the use of diesel powered machinery and explosives underground. The research concentrated on dust and noxious gases but attention was also given to problems of noise, visibility and climate.

In the field of industrial health and safety the Community also financed programmes on "Ergonomics", "Chronic respiratory diseases" and "Pollution control in the iron and steel industries". The Community research programmes on coal and in the field of the environment included subjects closely related to industrial hygiene. A new Community programme "Safety in Mines" was established in 1976.


- Technical methods of environmental control:
. Effects of new machines and techniques on the making of dust and other pollutants and the reduction of these by improvements in machine design and techniques;
. Improvement of dust collecting techniques;
. Air curtain technology with emphasis on developing and perfecting techniques to provide a fresh-air environment for workmen and an enclosure within which to practice dust control;
. Design parameters for powered supports to minimize the making of dust in connection with their function underground;
. Relationship between dust and mine climate with particular reference to the pattern of deposition and the granulometry of airborne dust;
. Improvement of wet suppression systems;
. Water infusion related essentially to the need for automation and remote monitoring of the technique and to the monitoring of the water in the strata;
. Design and development of individual protection to give an unpolluted working atmosphere;

- Monitoring the environment:
. Development and improvement of dust sampling instruments and analytical methods for determining chemical, physical and mineral properties of the mining atmosphere;
. Design and development of instruments for continuous recording and indicating dust levels;
. Development of optimum dust sampling strategies to provide information on dust conditions at workplaces throughout the mine;
. Development of instrumentation for measuring other air contaminants, including airborne radioactive materials, with particular emphasis on nitrous fumes;

- Environmental factors and health:
. Further studies to determine safe dust limits for the employment of persons with early signs of pneumoconiosis;
. Specific harmfulness of dusts, involving epidemiological and laboratory studies, to enable levels for airborne dust to be expressed in terms of the actual health hazard involved;
. Effects on health of fumes and noxious gases arising from the use of diesel engines and explosives;
. Individual susceptibility to dust and other pollutants;
. Comparability of the qualitative and quantitative measure of dust concentrations and the uniform radiological assessment of pneumoconiosis throughout the Community;
. Assessment of potential dangers to health arising from the use of new materials in mines;
. Problems of noise, visibility and climate where they constitute a health risk.


The Commission was responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by three advisory committees: the Research Committee, the Committee of Producers and Workers on Industrial Safety and Medicine, and the Committee of Government Experts. Research was undertaken by the mining research establishments in the Community. The duration of projects ranged from two to three years, with Community aid covering up to 75% of the costs. Details of projects and of the results achieved, together with any patents arising from the research, were published by the Commission in Euro - Abstracts.
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