Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Successor programme


Programme funding

EUR 12,5 million
To achieve a safer working environment for those engaged in the mining of coal and iron-ore.


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.

Until 1976 projects for safety research in coal and ironstone mining were proposed and selected on an individual basis without recourse to an overall programme. A first "Safety in Mines" research programme with a duration of five years was instituted by the Commission on 21 December 1976. This programme was devoted exclusively to underground activities. The 1982-1987 programme widened its scope to include the safety of surface activities and opencast mining operations as well as two major fields of research, "Transport and handling" and "Rockbursts and associated phenomena", which the first programme had included as subtopics in other fields. Details on the establishment of this second programme were published in the Official Journal (No C 195 of 29.7.1982)

In parallel to the "Safety in Mining" programme the Commission provided financial aid for research related to mining through the "Medium-term research aid programme for Coal" (DG XVII) and the "Programme on ergonomics for the steel and coal industries" (DG V).


- Accidents and data on accidents - human factors and safety:
To evaluate safety aspects of all mining operation systems and to develop techniques for the assessment of these aspects from the design to the application stages;

- Fires and underground combustion:
To minimize the possible occurrence of fires and heating, provide for early detection and warning should they occur, develop both manual and automatic methods of combating them and develop methods of dealing with the situation should direct control over an incident be lost;

- Explosions:
To improve explosives safety, particularly that of new types;

- Rescue:
To design and develop high performance, self- contained escape devices as alternatives to the filter type self-rescuers and to improve equipment and communication systems used for the rescue of trapped miners;

- Monitoring, telemetry, data presentation, remote control, automation and communication:
To establish safe operating procedures for remotely controlled and automated operations;

- Transport and handling:
To improve the safety of equipment used to transport miners and heavy material, both in shafts and on inclined and horizontal roadways;

- Electricity:
To investigate material and equipment safety from the point of view of explosion and fire risks and also the general safety of high voltage circuits;

- Materials technology:
To make use of the most suitable materials available and to develop techniques which will reveal the risks and possibility of machine and equipment failure in use;

- Working methods:
To investigate the particular problems of safety arising from modern methods of mining;

- Rock outbursts, associated phenomena and instantaneous gas outbursts:
To look at aspects of spontaneous strata movement phenomena associated with mining and the prediction and prevention of these;

- Surface:
To direct attention to working methods at the surface of underground mines and also at opencast mining operations.


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. In addition to direct aid costs, funds were made available to meet programme running costs: those for the holding of related, necessary meetings, travelling and subsistence allowances for experts and research workers, the organization and operation of study or information seminars and the publishing and dissemination of the results of the research undertaken.

Details of projects and of the results achieved, together with any patents arising from the research, were contained in abstracts published and distributed by the Commission.


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