Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 9 million

Official Journal Reference

C 14 of 1991-01-22

Legislative Reference

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 1990-1993 "Industrial Hygiene in Mines" programme were published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (No C 14 of 22.1.91). The programme is a continuation of five 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. Research has concentrated on dust and noxious gases but attention has also been given to problems of noise, visibility and climate.

In the field of industrial health and safety the Community also finances 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 include subjects closely related to industrial hygiene. A Community programme "Safety in Mines" was established in 1976.


Four subprogrammes:

- Control of pollutants:
To optimize the measures used to control dust, particularly in high-performance faces, and to provide integrated systems which satisfy the requirements for effective ventilation and frictional ignition control, low noise levels, etc.;

- Dust measurement and determination of dust properties:
. Optimization and harmonization of sampling methods and strategy;
. Harmonized methods for measuring the individual exposure of workers and monitoring for compliance with dust limit values (in connection with the fifth ECSC medical research programme);
. To improve knowledge of dust composition, surface properties and biological effects;
. To quantify and establish standards for minimizing the pneumoconiosis risk;
. Development of instruments for measuring other mine pollutants and of methods for analysing dusts of non-mine origin;
. Research into the influence of certain physical properties of dust on the effectiveness of dust control measures;

- Environmental factors and occupation-related diseases:
. The dispersion and effects on the organism of "non-traditional" potentially dangerous substances;
. Epidemiological research pursued and extended;
. To establish scientific bases (via biophysical and biochemical studies) for defining limit values for mixed dusts and their components;
. To back up studies on traditional methods by research on the application of biometrology;
. Continuation of studies of the long-term harmful effects of dust and factors which may effect their properties, in order to improve knowledge on the relationship between dust levels and the development of respiratory disorders;
In general the research subjects on environmental factors will be closely coordinated with the fifth medical research programme combining these two separate approaches: the first embracing physics, chemistry and occupational health and the second medicine;

- Noise and vibration:
To reduce noise and vibration levels at the source and at the place of work.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the programme, assisted by three Committees: the Research Committee on Industrial Hygiene, the Committee of Producers and Workers on Industrial Safety and Medicine and the Committee of Government Experts.

Research will be carried out by mining companies and mining research institutes in the Community Member States. Joint research involving several countries will be encouraged wherever possible, given the considerable advantages for researchers and users on the one hand and the Commission's policy of European cooperation on the other.

Research project applications must reach the Commission by 1 October of each year in order to be examined and, where appropriate, financed during the following year. The duration of projects ranges from two to three years, with Community aid covering up to 75% of the costs.

Research results and patents arising are summarized in the Euro-Abstracts journal. Any person or body requiring fuller information may request complete reports on any aided research. During the life of the programme a report on the various projects, conclusions and other relevant information will be published and distributed.
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