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Increasing cognitive loads on miners’ brains: good example of where society is heading

NIOSH to Study Cog­ni­tive Loads on Under­ground Coal Min­ers (Occu­pa­tional Health & Safety):

NIOSH has pub­lished a notice out­lin­ing an inter­est­ing study it plans to under­take to under­stand the cog­ni­tive demands placed on under­ground coal min­ers by new safety devices they must carry, with the indus­try increas­ingly deploy­ing wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems, per­sonal dust mon­i­tors, and prox­im­ity detectors…

The phys­i­cal bur­den is evi­dent, but the cog­ni­tive effect may not be as clear,” accord­ing to the notice. “Cur­rently, it is unknown how the increased phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive load that is being placed on today’s mine work­ers will affect their health and safety… The goal of this project is to deter­mine: (1) What infor­ma­tion is crit­i­cal for a miner to safely per­form his job, (2) what processes (e.g., exper­tise, deci­sion mak­ing, atten­tion, etc.) are nec­es­sary for a miner to effec­tively per­form his job, and (3) how do the miner and the machine interact.”

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