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Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

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Science of the Total Environment


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/scitotenv

Human health and safety risks management in underground coal mines


using fuzzy TOPSIS
Satar Mahdevari a,, Kourosh Shahriar a, Akbar Esfahanipour b
a
b

Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Industrial Engineering Department, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

H I G H L I G H T S

Risks associated with health and safety of coal miners were investigated.
A reliable methodology based on Fuzzy TOPSIS was developed to manage the risks.
Three underground mines in Kerman coal deposit were selected as case studies.
The model can help in taking appropriate measures before accidents can occur.

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 17 February 2014
Received in revised form 19 April 2014
Accepted 20 April 2014
Available online xxxx
Editor: Adrian Covaci
Keywords:
Risk management
Human health and safety
Fuzzy TOPSIS
Kerman coal deposit
Underground mining

a b s t r a c t
The scrutiny of health and safety of personnel working in underground coal mines is heightened because of fatalities and disasters that occur every year worldwide. A methodology based on fuzzy TOPSIS was proposed to
assess the risks associated with human health in order to manage control measures and support decisionmaking, which could provide the right balance between different concerns, such as safety and costs. For this
purpose, information collected from three hazardous coal mines namely Hashouni, Hojedk and Babnizu located
at the Kerman coal deposit, Iran, were used to manage the risks affecting the health and safety of their miners.
Altogether 86 hazards were identied and classied under eight categories: geomechanical, geochemical,
electrical, mechanical, chemical, environmental, personal, and social, cultural and managerial risks. Overcoming
the uncertainty of qualitative data, the ranking process is accomplished by fuzzy TOPSIS. After running the
model, twelve groups with different risks were obtained. Located in the rst group, the most important risks
with the highest negative effects are: materials falling, catastrophic failure, instability of coalface and immediate
roof, redamp explosion, gas emission, misre, stopping of ventilation system, wagon separation at inclines,
asphyxiation, inadequate training and poor site management system. According to the results, the proposed
methodology can be a reliable technique for management of the minatory hazards and coping with uncertainties
affecting the health and safety of miners when performance ratings are imprecise. The proposed model can be
primarily designed to identify potential hazards and help in taking appropriate measures to minimize or remove
the risks before accidents can occur.
2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
With regard to different occurrences that may lead to fatal or nonfatal injuries, underground coal mining has been recognized as one of
the riskiest operations worldwide (Lama and Bodziony, 1998; Sari
et al., 2004, 2009; Duzgun and Einstein, 2004; Joy, 2004; Duzgun,
2005; Grayson et al., 2009; Maiti and Khanzode, 2009; Paul, 2009;
Shahriar and Bakhtavar, 2009; Zhu and Xiao-ping, 2009; Khanzode
et al., 2011). Generally, work conditions in underground mining are different from surface mining. Special equipments in the stopes, working
Corresponding author. Tel.: +98 21 64542972; fax: +98 21 66405846.
E-mail address: satar.mahdevari@aut.ac.ir (S. Mahdevari).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.04.076
0048-9697/ 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

at depth, water/mud inrush, gas release, humidity, air pollution and


necessity of ventilation system, various illnesses, e.g. pneumoconiosis
and severe emphysema, mortality, accidents during loading, hauling
or hoisting, stability analysis and strata control, spontaneous combustion, outbursts, explosions, etc. are some of the issues that increase the
risks of working underground.
These difculties are commonly faced problems of underground coal
mines, which may have detrimental effects on workers in the form of
injury, disability or fatality as well as on mining companies due to
downtimes, interruptions in the operations, equipment breakdowns
and so on.
However, the coal mining industry has made tremendous improvements in reducing the fatality and injury rates (Kinilakodi and Grayson,

86

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

2011), the disasters are posing new challenges regarding the way managers assess and mitigate high-risk conditions.
Coal mining has many hazards that make it unique in the eld of industrial health and safety. The hazardous nature of coal mine operations
can easily be deduced from the national statistics of mine accidents and
injuries (Paul, 2009). Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010) underground coal mining is a relatively dangerous industry and employees
are more likely to be fatal or to incur a non-fatal injury or illness, and
their injuries are more likely to be severe than workers in private
industry as a whole.
It is true that underground coal mining is inherently more hazardous
than other industries, but this does not mean we should simply accept it
to be more dangerous. Allanson (2002) after investigating various
accidents demonstrated that in most cases sufcient information should
be collected to prevent an accident prior to taking place.
One of the main causes of deaths or injuries is working at stopes
which are considered unsafe as they have an unsupported roof.
Working with or nearby underground coal mining equipments is also
inherently hazardous due to the several sources of injuries and adverse
environmental conditions. The underground environment in a mining
operation is constrained by the absence of natural light, fresh air, open
space, etc., and moreover there is the undesirable presence of high temperature, humidity, dust, fumes, mist, noise, rock stresses, etc. In addition, working conditions in underground mining are associated with a
considerable number of health risk factors, such as high physical workload, noise pollution, vibration syndrome, radiation exposure, diesel exhaust, and exposure to coal and silica dusts or harmful gases. Due to
these constraints, the potential hazards associated with underground
coal mines may trigger accidents unless risk measures are taken to prevent them.
The Australian Mine Health and Safety Regulation (2010) requires
mines to conduct risk assessments in relation to certain high risk and
hazards associated with ground instability, inrush, atmospheric
contamination, excavation of mine shafts and galleries, slipping of
conveyors, earth moving machinery, re, explosives and electrical
works. Besides the main reason for conducting a risk analysis is to
support decision-making, so that it can provide an important basis for
nding the right balance between different concerns, such as safety
and costs (Aven, 2008).
Typically, a risk assessment starts with hazard identication
(Gransson et al., 2014). According to the international organization
for standardization (ISO Guide, 2009) a hazard is dened as a source
of potential harm, which can be a risk source. According to the denition
of the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK, 2008), risk is
an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has positive or negative
effects on at least one of the nine project objectives, such as integration,
scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk and
procurement.
Risk is measured in terms of likelihood and consequence, and is
dened as the chance of something happening that will have an impact
upon objectives (Barnes, 2009). In this research, risk is the chance of
something happening in underground coal mines that will have
negative impacts on the health or safety of a miner.
Risk management is dened as all measures and activities carried
out to manage risk. In other words, risk management deals with
balancing the conicts associated with exploring opportunities on the
one hand and avoiding losses, accidents and disasters on the other
hand (Aven and Vinnem, 2007). Risk management aims to reduce the
likelihood and impact of mishaps of all kinds. In the mining industry,
with its inherent potential for major accidents which could lead to
injury, fatality, damage the environment and cause serious loss of
production and prot, there is a particular need for a safe and sound
approach to the process of risk management.
Risk assessment as the central part of risk management, is the
process used to determine risk management priorities by evaluating
and comparing the level of risk against predetermined standards, target

risk levels or other criteria. Therefore, risk assessment involves a


detailed and systematic examination of any activity, location or operational system to identify hazards.
There are numerous risk assessment techniques available, each of
which may be useful in particular circumstances. While there is no
single method which is the correct one for any particular situation,
engineers should consider the special conditions of the mines and select
the most appropriate technique to ensure that a robust and comprehensive risk assessment is conducted.
Risk management often involves decision-making in situations characterized by high risk and large uncertainties, and such decision-making
presents a challenge in that it is difcult to predict the consequences of
the decisions. Nonetheless, the highest risk levels i.e. most severe consequences and highest likelihood of occurring, are suggested to be
controlled or minimized as much as possible.
This research work presents a simple practical risk assessment using
fuzzy TOPSIS (Chen, 2000), which stands for Technique of Order
Preference Similarity to the Ideal Solution. In this respect, the TOPSIS
approach is extended to develop a risk-based methodology under
fuzzy environment.
TOPSIS as one of the most applicable Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) methods assigns the best alternative among many feasible
alternatives by calculating the distances from the positive ideal and the
negative ideal (anti-ideal) solutions. TOPSIS is usually criticized due to
neglecting uncertainties. To overcome this deciency, fuzzy logic,
which is able to model the uncertainties, is employed in our research.
The fuzzy technique uses linguistic variables instead of quantitative
expression. This technique is a very helpful concept for dealing with situations which are too complex or not well-dened enough (Zadeh,
1965). Therefore, fuzzy TOPSIS is applied in order to analyze the risk associated with health and safety of coal miners, because of its capability
and efciency in handling uncertainties, simultaneous consideration of
the positive and the negative ideal solutions, simple computations and
logical concept. The proposed methodology aims to identify the important risks and introduce effective measures for managing them.
2. Literature review
Risk assessment and safety evaluation are important in almost all
industries. Mining as a high risk operation is no exception and in this
respect several studies with different approaches had been done.
Notwithstanding, accidents and hazards in underground mines are
very complex events and many factors can contribute to occurrence of
undesirable events (Sari et al., 2004). Due to importance of the problem,
different researches were conducted to nd out the relationship
between the human health and environmental conditions via effective
parameters in the occurrences of injuries or fatalities in underground
coal mines.
Recently, with the application and development of safety engineering systems in coal mining, much attention has been paid to research
in coal mine safety assessment, which resulted in a number of valuable
ndings.
Paul (2009) used the retrospective casecontrol study design to predict work injuries among mine workers. The prediction of work injury
in mines was done by a step-by-step multivariate logistic regression
modeling. A methodology is also proposed toward development of an
uncertainty model that includes randomness in the occurrence of
days-lost accidents in a coal mine (Sari et al., 2009). Grayson et al.
(2009) using Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) database,
analyzed risks posed by major hazards of res and explosions in mines
through scrutiny of major hazard-related violations of mandatory safety
standards. Coleman and Kerkering (2007) conducted statistical analysis
to measure safety in underground coal and non-coal mines. Kniesner
and Leeth (2004) described information needed to examine the
cost-effectiveness of mine safety policy. They used assembled data on
underground coal mine production, injuries and safety inspections

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

87

Fig. 1. The main elements of the proposed risk management process.

and other regulatory activities to estimate an econometrically sophisticated regression model of the connection between mine inspections
and mine safety outcomes. Duzgun and Einstein (2004) proposed a
risk and decision analysis methodology for management of risk associated with roof falls in underground coal mines using exponential and
Poisson distributions and cost benet analysis. Shahriar and Bakhtavar
(2009) employed a quantitative approach and decision tree in order
to assess and manage roof fall risks as a major geotechnical problem
in Iranian underground coal mines. Khanzode et al. (2011) presented
a methodology for evaluating and monitoring of recurrence characteristics of hazards in underground coal mines. Their methodology includes
a systematic procedure beginning from identication of hazards based
on Weibull and Poisson distribution models, to their quantication
and then periodic monitoring of hazards using control charting
principles.
Zhu and Xiao-ping (2009) investigated safety evaluation of human
accidents in coal mines using data mining approaches. They employed
ant colony optimization and support vector machine algorithms for feature extraction of inuencing factors and evaluation model of human
accidents.
Recently the fuzzy TOPSIS technique has demonstrated its capabilities and efciencies as a practical engineering and problem-solving

tool. Some of the applications of this technique in the eld of risk management are presented as follows. Wang and Elhag (2006) proposed a
fuzzy TOPSIS method based on alpha level sets and presented a nonlinear programming solution procedure for bridge risk assessment.
Yazdani et al. (2012) proposed a fuzzy TOPSIS framework to extend
conventional risk analysis and management for critical asset protection.
Zhang et al. (2013) developed a new evaluation model based on the

Fig. 2. Schematic view of a triangular fuzzy number.

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S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

interval analytic hierarchy process and extension of TOPSIS with interval data to improve the reliability of risk identication on a hydropower
project. SoltanPanah et al. (2011) used fuzzy TOPSIS to assess risk for
planning the repair and maintenance of bridges. Fouladgar et al.
(2011) applied fuzzy TOPSIS approach in order to evaluate the existing
risk in a water conveyance tunnel project via extraction of eleven major
dimensions of risks associated with tunneling. Kutlu and Ekmekcioglu
(2012) applied fuzzy TOPSIS integrated with fuzzy analytical hierarchy
process to present fuzzy Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) for
evaluation of the risk factors of each potential failure mode in linguistic
variables. Zhou and Lu (2012) employed fuzzy TOPSIS and fuzzy analytic network process for risk evaluation of dynamic alliances, which can
help enterprises to choose a coalition partner and make a reasonable
benet allocation plan. Finally, Lee et al. (2013) developed a new procedure that combines Delphi method with fuzzy TOPSIS technique for
ood risk and vulnerability management.
3. Methodology
There are several ways of presenting the risk management process,
but most structures contain the three key elements of planning, risk
assessment (execution) and risk treatment (Aven, 2008).
The risk management procedure proposed in our research is
composed of six steps: establishing the context, risk identication, risk
analysis, risk evaluation, ALARP level and risk treatment associated
with the health and safety of workers at underground coal mines.
The main elements of the risk management process are shown in
Fig. 1 and the proposed framework is explained in detail in the next
subsections.
3.1. Establishing the context
The rst step of the risk management process is to dene the objectives of the analysis. Establishing the context denes the limits within
which risks must be managed and sets the scope for the rest of the
risk management process. The context includes the environment
and working conditions of the mine and the purpose of the risk management activity. When formulating the objectives, any limitations to the
scope of the analysis should be taken into consideration, such as lack
of available resources, time limits and lack of data.
3.2. Risk assessment
Risk assessment is a systematic use of available information to determine how often specic events may occur and the magnitude of their
likely consequences. As shown in Fig. 1, the risk assessment is the central part of the risk management process, which purposes to establish
a proactive safety strategy by investigating potential risks. In our
research, risk assessment is a process of assessing the likelihood of the
mining hazard causing or contributing to any harm to any miner; and
the consequence of the harm which may be caused.
The human health and safety risks can be considered or assessed at
various levels depending on the scope and purpose of the assessment.
The risk assessment will consider the relationship between the likelihood and potential consequence of the risk of hazards occurring, and
to review the current or planned approaches to controlling the hazards.
In essence, risk assessment includes three steps: risk identication,
risk analysis and risk evaluation. That means, to assess a risk, potential
sources of harm should be identied rst and then the likelihood and consequence of them occurring should be estimated to analyze the risk.
Thereafter risk should be evaluated which means comparing the estimated risks against risk criteria to determine the signicance of risk.
3.2.1. Risk identication
Once the context of the risk assessment is properly documented, the
next step in the risk management process is to identify the hazards

associated with any mining activities under consideration. Risk identication includes identifying the hazards and the situations that have the
potential to cause harm or losses, sometimes called unwanted events
(Joy, 2004).
In this step based on historical information of mine monitoring, a decision matrix is established to determine potential risk factors. This step
is the base of planning and executing phases, thus the information
should be detailed appropriately.
Presence of hazards in a work system is the main cause of occurrence
of accidents. Identifying hazards and compiling information about them
is the rst step in planning for safety. When a hazard is transformed into
a harmful event, an accident takes place (Khanzode et al., 2011). The
outcome of this hazard identication process should be a comprehensive and creditable list of human health and safety risks associated
with the mining activities being assessed, which forms the basis of
future risk management activities.
In general, qualitative risk assessment is typically used for most circumstances in the mining industry and quantitative risk assessment
may not even be possible because of the absence of reliable data. The
qualitative expressions are the same linguistic variables dened in the
fuzzy logic. Thus the calculation of the risk can be simplied by
converting the linguistic scales into Triangular Fuzzy Numbers (TFNs).
Fuzzy logic which was introduced by Zadeh (1965), can take into
account uncertainty and solve problems where there are no sharp
boundaries and precise values. A linguistic variable is dened as a variable whose values are not numbers, but words or sentences in a natural
language such as very weak, weak, moderate, strong, etc. The concept of
a linguistic variable provides a means of approximate characterization
of phenomena which are too complex or too ill-dened to be amenable
to describe in conventional quantitative terms (Zadeh, 1975).
A fuzzy set is a class of objects with a continuum of grades of membership. Such a set is characterized by a membership function, which
assigns to each object a grade of membership ranging between zero
and one. In other words, a fuzzy number belongs to the closed interval
0 and 1, in which 1 addresses full membership and 0 expresses nonmembership. By contrast, crisp sets only allow 0 or 1. Thus fuzzy sets
are a general form of crisp sets.
There are various types of fuzzy numbers that can be utilized based
on the situation. In practice, TFN is the most interesting due to intuitive
and computational simplicity. As shown in Fig. 2, a TFN can be dened


e l; m; u or M
e l ; m , where l, m, and u respectively
as a triplet M
m

denote the smallest possible value, the most promising value, and the
largest possible value that describe a fuzzy event.
e has linear representations on its left and right sides
Each TFN, M,
such that its membership function, e x, can be dened as:
M

8
if
< xl=ml
e x ux=um if
M
:
0

lxm
m xu
otherwise

where, l, m, and u denote the smallest possible value, the most promising value, and the largest possible value, respectively as shown in Fig. 2.
e is a convex normalized fuzzy set of the real line
A fuzzy number M
R [0, 1] such that (Buckley, 1985; Zimmermann, 1992):
o e x is piecewise continuous.
M
o e x is normalized, that is, there exists xR with e x 1 (x is
M
M
e
called the mean value of M).
3.2.2. Risk analysis
Risk analysis includes analyzing the magnitude of risk that may arise
from the unwanted event. The objective of a risk analysis is to describe
risk, that is to present an informative risk picture (Aven, 2008), which
can be illustrated in the form of a bow-tie diagram.
The bow-tie diagram is a synergistic adaptation of fault tree analysis
and event tree analysis that shows how a range of causes, controls and

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

outcomes can be linked together and associated with each major


incident scenario.
Cumulative consideration of the hazards can be seen as the overall
evaluation of interactions between different parts of a single bow-tie diagram or consideration of a range of bow-tie diagrams together. Hence
cumulative consideration of hazards can be used to assess the overall
picture of the facility risks, and to understand how different causes
and events can combine to lead to an incident. It also enables the key
causes and controls for the risk to be identied and evaluated in more
detail if required. It is not of place to mention that risk analysis does
not give direct answers as to what is the correct solution, but it only
gives a risk description which will provide a basis for the choice of solutions (Aven, 2008).
3.2.3. Risk evaluation
The purpose of risk evaluation is to make decisions, based on the
outcomes of risk analysis, about which risks need treatment and what
the treatment priorities are. The various methods available for risk
evaluation usually use the same broad principles, so that consequence
and likelihood are identied and combined to produce a level of risk.
In other words, risk equals to multiply of likelihood (probability) of an
occurrence and consequences of the occurrence.
Generally, in our proposed methodology this step involves ranking
all risks using fuzzy TOPSIS into a consolidated listing with all identied
and assessed risks then ranking them from highest to lowest.
3.2.3.1. TOPSIS. TOPSIS as an applicable MCDM approach was rst
proposed by Hwang and Yoon (1981) and thereafter expanded by
Chen et al. (1992). It is a practical and useful technique for ranking
and selection of a number of externally determined alternatives through
distance measures (Zhou and Lu, 2012).
The basic concept of this method is that the chosen alternative
should have the shortest distance from the positive ideal solution (the
best possible status) and the farthest distance from the negative ideal
solution (the worst possible status) (Lai et al., 1994). The positive
ideal solution is a solution that simultaneously maximizes benet
criteria and minimizes cost criteria, whereas the negative ideal solution
maximizes the cost criteria and minimizes the benet criteria. The
TOPSIS method assumes that each criterion has a tendency to monotonically increase or decrease utility. Therefore, it is easy to dene the
positive and negative ideal solutions.

89

The TOPSIS method is based on six computation steps. The rst step
is the gathering of the performances of the alternatives on the different
criteria. These performances need to be normalized in the second step.
The normalized scores are then weighted and after determination of
the positive and negative ideal solutions, the distances to the ideal and
anti-ideal points are calculated. Finally, the closeness is given by the
ratio of these relative distances (Hwang and Yoon, 1981; Lai et al.,
1994).
The classical TOPSIS method operates in a deterministic context and
evaluation process which involves judgments precisely dened and
crisp values. However, under some conditions crisp values are inadequate to model real world decision problems, because actual problems
usually involve uncertain, imprecise and subjective data, which make
the decision-making process more complex and challenging. On the
other hand, human judgment and preferences are often ambiguous
and cannot be estimated with exact numerical values.
Therefore, the fuzzy TOPSIS method is proposed where the consequence and likelihood are evaluated by linguistic variables represented
by fuzzy numbers to address such uncertainty and vagueness in the
traditional TOPSIS.
3.2.3.2. Fuzzy TOPSIS. Fuzzy logic is a powerful mathematical tool for
handling the existing uncertainty in decision making. Overcoming the
uncertainty of qualitative data, the ranking process may be accomplished by the fuzzy TOPSIS method. The mathematical concept of
fuzzy TOPSIS proposed by Chen (2000) can be summarized as follows.
After identication of the consequence and likelihood, the fuzzy
numbers should be calculated corresponding to each linguistic variable.
Before analyzing and modeling, the data have to be normalized to keep
them in the prescribed range of 0 and +1. The normalization of fuzzy
numbers is accomplished by using linear scale transformation to
convert the different units into a comparable unit.

er ij

!
lij mij uij
;
;
;
uj uj uj

er ij

lj lj lj
;
;
;
uij mij lij

u j max uij ; j

l j min lij ; j :
i

Fig. 3. Hierarchy procedure of risk control (Applied Manual, 2007; Barnes, 2009).

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S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

Fig. 4. Geological map of Kerman coal deposit (Engineering Report, 1970).

As mentioned l, m, and u are the smallest possible value, the most


promising value, and the largest possible value, respectively.
For benet criteria the larger r ij has the greater preference while for
the cost criteria the smaller r ij has the greater preference. Hence, the
normalized fuzzy decision matrix can be obtained as:
h i
e er
R
ij

The distance of each alternative from A+ and A are calculated as:

di



xij lij ; mij ; uij .
where, r ij is the normalized value of e
The weighted normalized value e
vij is calculated by multiplying the
 
e j of criteria with the normalized fuzzy decision matrix er ij .
weights w
e for each criterion is calculated
The weighted normalized decision matrix V
through the following relation:
h
i h i
e w
e jerij e
vij
V

n j

i 1; 2; ; m j 1; 2; ; n:

In this matrix, each element e


vij is a fuzzy normalized number which
ranges within the closed interval [0, 1]. Thereafter the fuzzy positive
ideal solution (A+) and fuzzy negative ideal solution (A) are obtained
as:


 

v1 ; e
v2 ; e
v3 ; ; e
vn max vij ji 1; 2; ; m; j 1; 2; ; n 6
A e
i

j1

nm

n


X

d e
vij ; e
vj

di

n


X

d e
vij ; e
vj

j1

where, d+
i and di are the primary and secondary distant measures, respectively. The distance measurement between two TFNs of (l1, m1, u1)
and (l2, m2, u2), can be calculated by the vertex method as follows:

e n
e
dv m;

r
i
1h
2
2
2
l l m1 m2 u1 u2 :
3 1 2

10

Finally the alternatives can be ranked using closeness coefcient (Ci)


index in decreasing order. The larger the index value, the better the per
formance of the alternatives. The Ci takes into account the d+
i and di simultaneously. The relative Ci index of each alternative with respect to
the fuzzy positive ideal solution is obtained as:
Ci 

d
i

di

d
i

C i 1 if Ai A

11

C i 0 if Ai A :

+
As d
i 0 and di 0, then clearly Ci[0, 1].

3.3. ALARP level


A

e
v1 ; e
v2 ; e
v3 ; ; e
vn


min vij ji 1; 2; ; m; j 1; 2; ; n :
i

Once the risks have been identied and evaluated, proper risk control and treatment strategies should be made to deal with the potential
risks in the mines. The aim of risk control and treatment is to remove as

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599


Table 1
Classication of various types of the risks affecting human health and safety in coal mines.
Risk type

Code

Event

Geo-mechanical

GM1
GM2

Outburst/rock burst
Struck by materials (rock, wood, etc.)
falling off from roof or rib
Windblast
Catastrophic failure
Collapse or slump of wall
Flyrock occurrences
Spalling of ribs or sides
Instability of pillars
Instability of coalface
Instability of galleries
Trapping/entanglement in caved area
Floor failure/heave
Instability of immediate roof
Subsidence
Incomplete stowing
Coal and sulde ore dust explosion
Firedamp explosion
Emission of gases such as H2S, CO, CO2, NO, etc.
Electrocution
Dealing with misre
Power disruptions
Dead bulbs/uorescent tubes
Energy from switches, power boards,
generators, etc.
Blasting with non-standard wire/ring line
Electricity problems of water pumps
Tearing of pressure vessels
Acute jolts and whole body vibration
via machines
Unintended operation of equipment
Water pressure from pump stations
and reticulation
Hazards during maintenance and repairs
Slipping belt conveyor
Stopping of ventilation system
Tearing of towing wire
Wagons separation in inclines
Technical defect of machines
Jackshaft of the locomotive
Old vehicle seats and poor seating
Inappropriate ring
Unbalanced oxygen of blasting
Non-standard explosives
Hazardous fuels and chemicals
Slippery oor
Poorly lit areas and illumination problems
Caught between moving parts
Inrush of water, mud, gas, etc.
Drowning
Tire explosion
Asphyxiation due to inspiration of coal dust
and toxic gases
Radiation, reection and excessive glare
Thermal heat sources
Bacteria in water
Noise pollution
Release ammable gases such as acetylene
and methane
Hearing loss
Poisoning due to re and carbon monoxide
Misty and fumy conditions
Smoking during refueling
Inattention to safety signs
Not using safety garment
Using compressed air to clean clothes
Handling batteries without caution
Slip/trip while entering or leaving equipment
Slip, trip or fall during operation
and/or maintenance
Falling from heights
Vehiclepedestrian collisions
Lightning strike on stored explosives
Fatigue or illness
Injuries due to contiguity with equipment
Putting detonator in pocket

Geo-chemical

Electrical

Mechanical

GM3
GM4
GM5
GM6
GM7
GM8
GM9
GM10
GM11
GM12
GM13
GM14
GM15
GC16
GC17
GC18
E19
E20
E21
E22
E23
E24
E25
M26
M27
M28
M29

Chemical

Environmental

M30
M31
M32
M33
M34
M35
M36
M37
C38
C39
C40
C41
EN42
EN43
EN44
EN45
EN46
EN47
EN48
EN49
EN50
EN51
EN52
EN53

Personal

EN54
EN55
EN56
P57
P58
P59
P60
P61
P62
P63
P64
P65
P66
P67
P68
P69

(continued on next page)

91

Table 1 (continued)
Risk type

Social, cultural
and managerial

Code

Event

P70
P71

Backfall in gradient or even routes


Incaution during transportation,
storage and handling of explosives
Depleting misre blast-holes
Unfamiliarity with the emergency exit locations
Lack of safety garments
Lack of reghting equipment
Unauthorized entry to the extraction area
Transportation of personnel by conveyor/wagon
Lack or deciency of communication device
Blasting without controlling methane/dust density
Trafc in excavation area
Lack of knowledge and inaccessibility of rst aid
Inadequate training
Manual handling
Poor ergonomics
Using unsuitable wood for support
Poor site management system

P72
P73
S74
S75
S76
S77
S78
S79
S80
S81
S82
S83
S84
S85
S86

many negative impacts as possible and to assure that the risks are As
Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP). This principle means that
the benets of a measure should be assessed in relation to the disadvantages of the measure. The ALARP principle is based on reversed
burden of proof, which means that an identied measure should
be implemented unless it cannot be documented that there is an
unreasonable disparity between disadvantages and benets (Aven,
2008).
The mining activities at a mine should be regularly monitored and
evaluated to conrm that the recommended risk control practices are
adequate to ensure risks are kept at acceptable levels. Records of the
monitoring programs are to be kept and must include details of
specic controls, equipments, procedures, engineering barriers or
other measures to be in place for management of the activities with
an unacceptable level of risk.

3.4. Risk treatment


As shown in Fig. 1, risk assessment is followed by risk treatment,
which represents the process and implementation of measures to
modify risk, including tools to avoid, reduce, optimize, transfer and or
retain risk.
According to Fig. 3, the hierarchical procedure of risk control begins
with elimination of the risk, which is always the best solution, and ends
with reliance on personal protective equipment, which should be the
last resort measure (Applied Manual, 2007). This hierarchical procedure
can assist in determining the appropriate measures to manage the risks
associated with coal miners.
The rst step in the risk hierarchy is, where possible, to avoid risk.
This requires a structured process of hazard and risk identication,
and the rst objective is to implement design options to eliminate hazards. The second objective is to propose risk measures to reduce the risk.
In the third step, substitution of a new activity, procedure, plan, process
or substance is considered to control the risk. In the fourth step, personnel are isolated from the mining hazards. The fth and sixth objectives
are engineering and administrative controls, respectively, which must
try to control the risks at their sources. The last objective is to develop
designs which aim to protect all those exposed to the residual risks involved in the mining operations, as opposed to relying on risk control
measures that only give some protection to individuals. Appropriate
equipment that protects all miners is the least preferred method of
control.

92

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

Fig. 5. Bow-tie diagram for injury or fatality of underground coal miners.

4. Application of the proposed methodology


4.1. Kerman coal deposit
The coal region of Kerman is a signicant deposit, which is located at
the southeast of central Iran, extending approximately 70 km from
the southeast to northwest with a width of 1015 km (Engineering
Report, 1970). There are several coal seams in the region and some of
them are currently extracted in underground mines such as Hojedk,
Babnizu and Hashouni as shown in Fig. 4.
Geologically the deposit is conned to the large Kerman syncline,
formed mainly of Jurassic coal bearing deposits. Within the bounds of
the region the syncline is composed mainly of Jurassic sandstonesiltstone-argillite series, including groups of coal seams and limestone
(Engineering report, 1970).
The lower (Lias) and middle (Dogger) formations of Jurassic deposits in the Kerman region are coal-bearing, comprising up to six coal
series, each of which contains a different number of coal seams and
sheds. The most abundant coal-bearing series are located in the deposits
of the middle Jurassic formation (Dogger), which stretch throughout
the entire deposit and contains seams of coking coals (Engineering
report, 1970).
Within the bounds of the deposit, there are nine distinctive areas,
representing fragments of the south-western (Dachrud, Neyzar,
Daregor and Darbidkhun) and north-eastern (Khamrud and Eshkeli)
limbs of the Kerman syncline and its two troughs, i.e. the northwestern trough (Pabedana) and south-eastern trough (Hojedk and
Babnizu).
The areas are separated by large tectonic dislocations. The deposit is
located in a mountainous region, deeply cut by canyons with heights of

Table 2
Qualitative description of the likelihoods (Applied Manual, 2007; Barnes, 2009).
Likelihood

Linguistic expression

Description

L1
L2
L3
L4
L5

Almost certain
Likely (probable)
Possible
Unlikely
Rare

Expected to occur in most circumstances


Will probably occur in most circumstances
Could occur at some time
Is not likely to occur in normal circumstances
May occur only in exceptional circumstances

elevation ranging from 1950 to 28003000 m (Engineering Report,


1970). The mountains are chiey composed of Paleozoic dolostone,
limestone and Cretaceous limestone or Jurassic sandstone.
According to the Statistical Energy Survey (2013), Iran had coal
consumption of 0.9 million tonnes (Mt) oil equivalent. Although coal
is one of the most abundant fossil fuels in Iran, coal mineral resources
are the least developed in the country. Proven reserves are estimated
to be approximately 1075 Mt, mainly coking and bituminous coals.
Annual coal production of Iran is approximately 1.5 Mt, from
relatively small underground mines. Most production in the country is
from underground, from relatively thin, locally steeply-dipping seams,
and is destined for the steel industry.
The probable and proven reserves in the Kerman coal deposit are
estimated to be 202 and 107 Mt respectively. In this research, three
underground coal mines of this deposit namely Hashouni, Hojedk and
Babnizu were investigated and the information collected from these
three mines was used to manage risks affecting the health and safety
of their miners.
4.2. Classifying input data
The kind of data classication is usually optional and risk can be categorized according to any part of an operation which may be concerned.
For example Paul (2009) based on the analysis of mining and nonmining industries identied the variables affecting human health and
safety in mines as demographics, personality, employment, safetyenvironment, social support, work-hazards, safe work behavior and
work-injury. Maiti and Bhattacharjee (2001) also identied mine
accidents/injuries associated with many parameters as personal, social
and technical factors.
Table 3
Qualitative description of the consequences (Applied Manual, 2007; Barnes, 2009).
Consequence

Linguistic expression

Description

C1

Severe (catastrophic)

C2
C3
C4
C5

Major (considerable)
Moderate
Minor (tolerable)
Insignicant

Death or permanent disability to one or


more persons
Hospital admission required
Medical treatment required/hospitalization
First aid required
Injuries not requiring rst aid

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599


Table 4
Fuzzy scale for rating linguistic terms (Kaufmann and Gupta, 1985).
Linguistic scale

Triangular fuzzy scale (for both Cs and Ls)

Consequence

Likelihood

C1
C2
C3
C4
C5

L1
L2
L3
L4
L5

(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)


(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)

In relation to human health and safety in underground mining


operations at the Kerman coal deposit, the risk types are categorized
in eight groups: geomechanical (GM), geochemical (GC), electrical (E),
mechanical (M), chemical (C), environmental (EN), personal (P), and
social, cultural and managerial (S) risks. Altogether 86 hazards were
identied based on raw data reported by the Ministry of Cooperatives,
Labour and Social Welfare of Iran (2009). The details of the events
affecting human health and safety of the three mentioned coal mines
are summarized and codied in Table 1.

4.3. Risk picture


In our cases where a large number of different hazards and potential
incidents exist, the cumulated risk may be signicant even if the risk
arising from each is low. These issues can be illustrated in the form of
a bow-tie diagram.
A bow-tie diagram which is highly effective for initial process of hazard analysis can be envisaged for every major mining hazard scenario
identied for the mine (Applied Manual, 2007). A mine will typically
have a range of mining hazards that need to be identied prior to
assessment. The overall prole of risks from all of these mining hazards
can be determined using a bow-tie diagram. The simplied bow-tie
diagram resulted from our research is shown in Fig. 5.
Located at the center of the bow-tie diagram is the initiating event,
which in our research is the injury or fatality of underground coal
miners, i.e. disease and injuries affecting or minatory to personnel. The
left side of the bow-tie diagram illustrates the causal risk pictures that
may lead to occurrence of the initiating event and the right side
describes the possible consequences of the initiating event.
On the left side are barriers (left ellipsoid) that are introduced to
prevent the initiating event from occurring; these are the probability reducing or preventive barriers. On the right side are barriers (right ellipsoid) to prevent the initiating event from bringing about serious
consequences; the consequence reducing or mitigating barriers.

Fig. 6. Linguistic variables for likelihoods and consequences.

93

4.4. Fuzzy TOPSIS modeling


In this research incidents affecting human health are characterized
by two dimensions, the likelihood of occurrence and the consequences
of the incidents. In this regard, the consequences and probabilities are
categorized on a scale from 1 to 5 qualitatively. Together these two
dimensions constitute the risk.
As shown in Table 2, likelihood is dened as a qualitative description
of probability and frequency from L1 to L5. Consequence which is the
outcome of the initiating event is also expressed qualitatively from C1
to C5 in Table 3.
After description of the likelihoods and consequences, the most important task in risk assessment is to calculate the risk rank of all related
events and arrange those in order of priority to gain an understanding of
the most important hazards.
Risk ranking is not an exact quantication of risk but it is a means of
prioritizing actions and allocating resources to control hazards. In real
situations, the ratings are usually difcult to be judged very precisely
because of the existence of uncertainty and vagueness, but can be suitably characterized by linguistic terms which are fuzzy in nature and
then transferred into fuzzy numbers. Such a method was extensively
extended by many practitioners to deal with fuzzy MCDM problems
(Wang et al., 2003; Wang and Lee, 2007).
Therefore considering the limitations of quantitative approaches,
fuzzy TOPSIS procedure is used for evaluating and ranking of risks
affecting miners' health and safety. For this purpose, fuzzy TOPSIS is
applied to calculate fuzzy positive and fuzzy negative ideal situations
for nding Ci index (Eq. (11)). Thenceforth on the basis of Ci index,
risks are evaluated and ranked. The abbreviation of the linguistic
terms of consequence and likelihood, and their equivalent TFNs are
shown in Table 4. Fig. 6 shows the conceptual schema of TFNs presented
in Table 4.
The details of the fuzzication of the likelihoods and consequences for
all 86 potential risks are presented in Table 5. As mentioned, the information in the second column (Likelihood) and the fourth column (Consequences) are based on raw data reported by the Ministry of
Cooperatives, Labour and Social Welfare of Iran (2009). The raw data
were linguistic terms based on Tables 2 and 3, which transferred into
fuzzy numbers according to Table 4. TFNs in the last column are risk as
a function of the fuzzy likelihood and fuzzy consequence for each row.
According to Eq. (4), the normalized fuzzy decision matrix is denoted

e er ij
. Therefore, as the fuzzy linguistic ratings, presented in
by R
nm
Table 4, preserve the property that the ranges of normalized TFNs belonging to the closed interval [0, 1], the normalization procedure is not
necessary.
Based on the TFNs presented in Table 5, A+ and A are determined
as (0.4125, 0.63, 0.85) and (0.00, 0.03, 0.1125) using Eqs. (7) and (8),
which indicate the most and the least preferable alternatives,
respectively.
For evaluating and ranking risks on the basis of the Ci index, the
results of calculation of the Ci index are shown in Table 6. According to
Eq. (11), the Ci is calculated simultaneously based on the distance d+
and d to both A+ and A using Eqs. (9) and (10). Finally a preference
order can be ranked according to the order of the Ci index.
According to the basic principle of the fuzzy TOPSIS method, the high
risk event is the one which has the shortest distance from the fuzzy
positive ideal solution and farthest distance from the fuzzy negative
ideal solution. Therfore based on the results, the ranking of the events
are determined so that risks having Ci value closest to 1 is ranked highest
risk, while risks having Ci value farthest from 1 is ranked lowest risk.
The results shown in Table 6, are arranged in descending order in
Table 7. As can be seen from this table, twelve groups with different
risks are obtained, which are shown from A to L. Group A has the highest
risk and group L has the lowest risk affecting the health and safety of the
miners.

94

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

Table 5
Risk calculation by fuzzication of the likelihoods and consequences.
Code

Likelihood

TFN of likelihood

Consequence

TFN of consequence

TFN of risk = L C

GM1
GM2
GM3
GM4
GM5
GM6
GM7
GM8
GM9
GM10
GM11
GM12
GM13
GM14
GM15
GC16
GC17
GC18
E19
E20
E21
E22
E23
E24
E25
M26
M27
M28
M29
M30
M31
M32
M33
M34
M35
M36
M37
C38
C39
C40
C41
EN42
EN43
EN44
EN45
EN46
EN47
EN48
EN49
EN50
EN51
EN52
EN53
EN54
EN55
EN56
P57
P58
P59
P60
P61
P62
P63
P64
P65
P66
P67
P68
P69
P70
P71
P72
P73
S74
S75
S76

L4
L1
L5
L2
L3
L3
L1
L5
L2
L3
L2
L3
L1
L1
L1
L3
L2
L1
L4
L2
L2
L2
L2
L4
L5
L4
L2
L5
L4
L5
L2
L2
L4
L2
L2
L3
L2
L4
L2
L5
L2
L4
L2
L5
L4
L5
L5
L1
L5
L3
L2
L1
L2
L4
L3
L1
L5
L3
L3
L2
L5
L3
L2
L2
L3
L5
L3
L2
L4
L3
L5
L4
L4
L3
L3
L5

(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)


(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)

C1
C2
C1
C1
C4
C2
C5
C3
C1
C2
C2
C4
C2
C4
C3
C1
C1
C2
C1
C1
C3
C4
C3
C2
C4
C2
C3
C3
C5
C4
C4
C1
C1
C1
C3
C2
C5
C2
C2
C1
C3
C3
C2
C2
C2
C4
C3
C2
C4
C2
C4
C3
C2
C3
C3
C3
C1
C1
C2
C4
C3
C2
C3
C2
C2
C1
C1
C3
C1
C2
C1
C1
C2
C2
C2
C2

(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)


(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)

(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)


(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.0000, 0.05, 0.1625)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.0000, 0.03, 0.1125)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.05, 0.1625)
(0.0000, 0.03, 0.1125)
(0.0000, 0.03, 0.1125)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.07, 0.2125)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.0000, 0.07, 0.2125)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.0000, 0.03, 0.1125)
(0.0000, 0.05, 0.1625)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.0000, 0.03, 0.1125)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.1225, 0.25, 0.4225)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.0000, 0.05, 0.1625)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.09, 0.2500)
(0.1125, 0.27, 0.4500)
(0.0825, 0.21, 0.3825)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.07, 0.2125)

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

95

Table 5 (continued)
Code

Likelihood

TFN of likelihood

Consequence

TFN of consequence

TFN of risk = L C

S77
S78
S79
S80
S81
S82
S83
S84
S85
S86

L2
L3
L3
L3
L5
L2
L2
L4
L3
L2

(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)


(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.00, 0.1, 0.25)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)

C2
C2
C1
C2
C3
C1
C2
C3
C4
C1

(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)


(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)
(0.55, 0.7, 0.85)
(0.35, 0.5, 0.65)
(0.15, 0.3, 0.45)
(0.75, 0.9, 1.00)

(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)


(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.2625, 0.45, 0.6500)
(0.1925, 0.35, 0.5525)
(0.0000, 0.05, 0.1625)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)
(0.3025, 0.49, 0.7225)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.0525, 0.15, 0.2925)
(0.4125, 0.63, 0.8500)

The Ci is always between 0 and 1, if an action is closer to the ideal


than the anti-ideal, then Ci approaches 1, whereas if an action is closer
to the anti-ideal than to the ideal, Ci approaches 0.

5. Results and discussion


Risk management cannot eliminate risks altogether but can only identify appropriate strategies to manage them (Mojtahedi et al., 2010). That
is to say after identifying, analyzing and evaluating the risks affecting

Table 6
Calculation of the Ci index for each hazard.
Code

d+

Ci

Code

d+

Ci

GM1
GM2
GM3
GM4
GM5
GM6
GM7
GM8
GM9
GM10
GM11
GM12
GM13
GM14
GM15
GC16
GC17
GC18
E19
E20
E21
E22
E23
E24
E25
M26
M27
M28
M29
M30
M31
M32
M33
M34
M35
M36
M37
C38
C39
C40
C41
EN42
EN43

0.356
0.000
0.523
0.000
0.473
0.268
0.523
0.571
0.000
0.268
0.126
0.473
0.000
0.356
0.178
0.178
0.000
0.000
0.356
0.000
0.268
0.410
0.268
0.410
0.598
0.410
0.268
0.571
0.598
0.598
0.410
0.000
0.356
0.000
0.268
0.268
0.545
0.410
0.126
0.523
0.268
0.473
0.126

0.248
0.598
0.087
0.598
0.129
0.333
0.087
0.031
0.598
0.333
0.474
0.129
0.598
0.248
0.422
0.422
0.598
0.598
0.248
0.598
0.333
0.193
0.333
0.193
0.000
0.193
0.333
0.031
0.000
0.000
0.193
0.598
0.248
0.598
0.333
0.333
0.062
0.193
0.474
0.087
0.333
0.129
0.474

0.411
1.000
0.142
1.000
0.214
0.554
0.142
0.052
1.000
0.554
0.790
0.214
1.000
0.411
0.703
0.703
1.000
1.000
0.411
1.000
0.554
0.321
0.554
0.321
0.000
0.321
0.554
0.052
0.000
0.000
0.321
1.000
0.411
1.000
0.554
0.554
0.102
0.321
0.790
0.142
0.554
0.214
0.790

EN44
EN45
EN46
EN47
EN48
EN49
EN50
EN51
EN52
EN53
EN54
EN55
EN56
P57
P58
P59
P60
P61
P62
P63
P64
P65
P66
P67
P68
P69
P70
P71
P72
P73
S74
S75
S76
S77
S78
S79
S80
S81
S82
S83
S84
S85
S86

0.545
0.410
0.598
0.571
0.000
0.598
0.268
0.410
0.178
0.126
0.473
0.370
0.178
0.523
0.178
0.268
0.410
0.571
0.268
0.268
0.126
0.268
0.523
0.178
0.268
0.356
0.268
0.523
0.356
0.410
0.268
0.268
0.545
0.126
0.268
0.178
0.268
0.571
0.000
0.126
0.473
0.473
0.000

0.062
0.193
0.000
0.031
0.598
0.000
0.333
0.193
0.422
0.474
0.129
0.231
0.422
0.087
0.422
0.333
0.193
0.031
0.333
0.333
0.474
0.333
0.087
0.422
0.333
0.248
0.333
0.087
0.248
0.193
0.333
0.333
0.062
0.474
0.333
0.422
0.333
0.031
0.598
0.474
0.129
0.129
0.598

0.102
0.321
0.000
0.052
1.000
0.000
0.554
0.321
0.703
0.790
0.214
0.384
0.703
0.142
0.703
0.554
0.321
0.052
0.554
0.554
0.790
0.554
0.142
0.703
0.554
0.411
0.554
0.142
0.411
0.321
0.554
0.554
0.102
0.790
0.554
0.703
0.554
0.052
1.000
0.790
0.214
0.214
1.000

human health and safety, each must be controlled or eliminated if possible, and if not they should be reduced to the ALARP level.
In addition, in the philosophy of risk management, the fatalistic acceptance of accident occurrence has been replaced by the realization
that impending loss, in most cases, is predictable and therefore preventable (Allanson, 2002). In the context of the risk management process,
this is valuable in mitigating and reducing risks to the maximum extent
possible.
According to the results of the risk assessment obtained from this research, the events GM2, GM4, GM9, GM13, GC17, GC18, E20, M32, M34,
EN48, S82 and S86 are high-risk hazards (group A in Table 7) and need
the most attention, while E25, M29, M30, EN46 and EN49 pose the least
risks (group L in Table 7). The whole twelve groups of the risks arranged
in Table 7, are depicted in Fig. 7.
Some risks are more manageable than others in the sense that there
is a greater potential to reduce them. Thus among the risks those which
have a Ci index more than 0.5, i.e. groups A, B, C and D, are more important than others, hence appropriate risk measures should be suggested
for them.

Table 7
Arrangement of the Ci index in descending order.

Order

Code

Ci

Order

GM2
GM4
GM9
A

GM13
GC17
GC18
E20
M32
M34

1.000

P65
P68
P70

GM11
C39
EN43

S74
S75
S78

EN56

0.703

P58
P67
S79
GM6
GM10
E21

G
0.554

Code

Ci

EN51
P60
P73

0.321

0.554
H

E19
M33
P69
P72
EN55
E22
E24
M26
M31
C38
EN45

GM5
GM12
EN42
EN54
S84
S85
GM3
GM7
C40
P57
P66
P71

0.214

0.142

M37
J

GM1
GM14

S83

Order

S80

0.790

GM15
GC16
EN52

M36
C41
EN50
P59
P62
P63

EN48
S82
S86

EN53

Ci

E23
M27
M35

P64
S77

Code

0.102

GM8

0.411
K
0.384

0.321

EN44
S76
M28
EN47
P61

0.052

S81

E25
M29
M30
EN46
EN49

0.000

96

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

The results of risk ranking in our cases are depicted in Fig. 8 in the
case of fuzzy numbers. This gure shows that all risks affecting human
health and safety are in an uncertain context because the corresponding
fuzzy numbers are considerably overlapping.
The amount of uncertainty in the fuzzy ranking is obtained and represented by the spread of the triangles. This means that when two triangles overlap, a weak rank can be established and the related uncertainty
can be associated to the ordinate of the intersection between the two
triangles. A wide overlapping area translates a high uncertainty related
to the ranking, which ultimately means the uncertainty in the input data
is too high to obtain a clear preference.
The merit of using the fuzzy TOPSIS approach is to determine the importance or preference of alternatives using fuzzy numbers to be more
adapted to the real world cases instead of crisp numbers. Fuzzy models
using TFNs proved to be very effective for solving decision-making
problems where the available information is imprecise. Moreover, one
of the other benets of our methodology is its avoidance of a complex
structure and/or a black box algorithm. In addition, the proposed approach may allow taking into account not only the uncertainty related
to qualitative judgments but also the uncertainty that may reside in
the measurement of quantitative parameters.
According to Fig. 3, the best way to control the risks, starts at the top
of the hierarchy of controls, i.e. investigate if the risk can be eliminated
rst. This is the most effective way to control a hazard. If this method is
not possible, it may use the other measures especially engineering or
administrative controls to reduce or minimize them. In the following
subsections some recommended measures for each one of the most important risks, located at group A, are presented to control or reduce
these risks.
5.1. Control measures for GM2
Being struck by materials is of considerable concern because of the
serious consequences of rock falling injuries. Control measures put in
place to reduce this risk include improvement of the efciency of the
support system and isolation of miners from unsupported places. In
this regard, studies of Maiti and Bhattacherjee (1999) showed that
coalface workers are at risk more than at other locations. In these situations, the probability of adverse events is dramatically reduced by the
practice of roof meshing. The provision of protective cabs on vehicles
also reduces the probability of injury from falling materials further.
5.2. Control measures for GM4, GM9 and GM13
The risks of catastrophic failure, instability of coalface and instability
of immediate roof are impressed by strata control. Roof failure is always
a serious problem affecting safe production in coal mines, so that in underground operations the main cause of death is roof falling (MacNeill,
2008). Also roof failure is almost always the main cause of accidents in
the Kerman coal mines, which results in death, disability, injury, equipment damage and nancial losses, so that during 20032008, about 60%
of accidents and 30% of fatalities in the Kerman coal mines had been
caused by roof collapse.
The often soft, faulted and folded sedimentary strata make roof
movement a risk to safe and economic coal extraction. There should
be in place strata control plans to support the sides and roofs of mines
and they should be updated regularly when a new mining area is
entered.
Several factors have contributed to occurrences of roof falls in underground coal mines, such as geological conditions, openings and stope
geometry, mining method, mine layout, in situ and induced stresses
state, abutment load and mine environment (Iannacchione et al., 2001;
Deb, 2003; Phillipson, 2003; Duzgun, 2005; Maiti and Khanzode, 2009).
Among the factors affecting the roof fall hazards in coal mines, stress
condition and mine layout are somewhat controllable by appropriate
mine design. However, it is relatively more difcult to control the effect

of geological conditions on roof falls, since the geological conditions are


nature's uncertainty, and hence they comprise inherent variability in
roof fall occurrences (Duzgun, 2005).
The model of stress development and strata failure should be developed and be included in the principal hazard management plan for
strata instability. In order to develop an effective strata support system
it is necessary to understand the failure mechanism of the strata such as
buckling, bending and shear failure over the rib lines.
5.3. Control measures for GC17, GC18 and EN48
Firedamp explosion, emission of gases such as H2S, CO, CO2, NO, etc.
and asphyxiation due to inspiration of coal dust and toxic gases are the
other important risks in our cases. Firedamp explosion which triggers
the much more dangerous than coal dust explosion, can engulf the entire mine. Coal seam gas represents a potentially signicant risk to the
safety and productivity of the underground mines, such that ineffective
control of this gas increases the risk of creating conditions that may result in either a coal and gas outburst or a methane and coal dust explosion, sometimes with fatal consequences for workers (Lama and
Bodziony, 1998). In addition, chronic lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis (black lung) are once common for miners, leading to reduced life
expectancy. In this regard, dust concentration levels in the mines are of
primary importance and have to be controlled to prevent pulmonary
disease of miners.
5.4. Control measures for E20
Based on the coal mining health and safety regulation (Applied
Manual, 2007) if a shot misres, the shot-rer must take the action of
(a) barricading each entrance to the place where the shot was red;
(b) immediately reporting the misre to any person about to work at
the location of the misre; (c) if possible, remedying the misred shot
and (d) preventing any work, other than work required to remedy the
misred shot from being carried out in the vicinity of the shot.
5.5. Control measures for M32
An active and effective ventilation system is very important in underground mining especially in coal mines, and according to the coal
mining safety and health regulation (Applied Manual, 2007) an underground mine's safety and health management system must provide
ways of (a) preventing intake air from traveling across the face of a
permanent seal at the mine; and (b) minimizing the risks of inrush
and leakage into intake airways of atmospheric contaminants from
goaf areas and abandoned or sealed workings.
5.6. Control measures for M34
Separation of wagons at inclines is another important risk which can
result in fatality, disability, equipment damage and downtime in our
cases. Preventing this event may be achieved by two ways: enhancing
the quality of the repair and maintenance, and utilizing the older
wagons at even galleries rather than at inclines.
5.7. Control measures for S82 and S86
Finally, the two important risks namely inadequate training and
poor site management system are also classied in group A. Utilizing
educated engineers and technical instructions are the best measures
in this regard. Furthermore regular periodic training of the personnel
can be very effective to reduce and manage the risk in our cases.
This can be achieved by: training to improve ability of the miners to
recognize hazards, using warning signs and emphasizing that attention
be paid to them, training to improve skills in avoiding injury, improving
motivation to work in teams and so on. In addition, all persons who

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

97

Fig. 7. Categorizing all risks in twelve groups according to Ci index.

supervise, manage or use work equipment should be given adequate


training for purposes of human health and safety, including training in
the methods which may be adopted when using the work equipment,
any risks which such use may entail and precautions to be taken.
Paying attention to the risks in group A and implementing them in
practice can enhance the health and safety of the miners. These major
risks have overlaps with some risks in the other groups. Nonetheless
other risk measures which may be appropriate for the frequently occurring hazards in our cases are suggested below.

5.8. Other important control measures


Handling a variety of objects including materials and tools, are associated with strains to various body parts. The injuries due to manual
handling can be minimized or eliminated by reducing loads or using
mechanical means.
The prevention of injuries and fatalities caused by interactions
between pedestrians and the machines are very effective. Dangers
from machinery can arise in two main ways: rstly from machinery
hazards including traps, impact, contact, entanglement and through
ejection of materials such as oil or machine parts. Secondly, through
non machinery hazards, which include electrical failure, exposure to
chemicals, pressure, noise, vibration, radiation and high temperature.
Spontaneous combustion represents one of the major mining hazards adversely affecting human health and safety, economy and productivity of mines. As one of the major disasters seriously affecting human
health, the high temperature fumes and poisonous gases produced by
spontaneous combustion pose a serious threat to underground miners.
Other suggestions are summarized as follows:

Only qualied and experienced contractors should carry out the


extraction of the mines.
Develop a re management risk reduction plan.
Provide training to all key personnel in the use of re extinguishers.
Ensure that safe drinking water is available in the mine.
Keep fully supplied rst aid boxes in the mine.
Provide adequate reghting equipment around the mine.
Restrict access to all work areas to essential personnel only and
exclude the general public.
Ensure that all electrical installations are provided by suitably
qualied personnel.
Facilitate access for operation, supervision and maintenance.
Eliminate illumination problems both in general lighting to the
mine and localized lighting for specic operations at stopes, and
avoid glare.
All machines should be kept in working order by regular maintenance.
Require the use of dust masks, gloves, safety glasses, safety footwear,
face shields, goggles, etc.
Provide continuous health controls.
Offer good insurance plans for the workers and their families.
The measures will have exclusively positive effects i.e. improved
safety, but in some cases, the measures may produce both positive
and negative effects. Therefore depending on the situation the consistency of the measures should be checked. It is not of place to mention
that an individual miner's obligation plays an important role in accident/injury causation in mines.
Realistically, not all risks can be avoided in a coal mine and the detailed design should be developed on the basis of reducing risks to the
ALARP principle. In applying the ALARP principle, it will be determined

Fig. 8. Risk ranking in terms of fuzzy numbers.

98

S. Mahdevari et al. / Science of the Total Environment 488489 (2014) 8599

what measures should be taken in advance of and during construction


to control risks.
Ongoing review of risk management processes and controls is essential to ensure that the management plan remains relevant. Factors that
may affect the likelihood and consequences of an outcome may change
over time, as they may affect the suitability or cost of the treatment
options. It is therefore necessary to monitor risks and their controls at
regular intervals.
Mining is a dynamic and fast moving industry and the management
of change is an integral part of mining activities. However many changes
can introduce new hazards into the workplace if not managed correctly
or can even invalidate risk assessments and control strategies. Modications and changes must be managed to ensure that human health and
safety risks arising from such changes remain at acceptable levels.
Finally, risk assessment should be seen as a continuing process and
the adequacy of control measures should also be subject to continual
review and revision if necessary.
6. Conclusion
A risk management methodology was carried out to provide
decision-making support regarding choice of solutions and control
measures of human health and safety in three underground coal
mines namely Hashouni, Hojedk and Babnizu located at the Kerman
coal deposit.
For this purpose, fuzzy TOPSIS method which is the fuzzy extension
of TOPSIS technique was employed to analyze and assess the risk of
working in the mines. The merit of this methodology as a logical, rational and computationally manageable approach is its avoidance of a
complex structure and/or a black box algorithm.
In our cases where a large number of different hazards and potential
incidents exist, altogether 86 events were identied and categorized in
eight categories of geomechanical, geochemical, electrical, mechanical,
chemical, environmental, personal, and social, cultural and managerial
risks.
According to the results, the events GM2, GM4, GM9, GM13, GC17,
GC18, E20, M32, M34, EN48, S82 and S86 are major high-risk hazards
and need the most attention, while E25, M29, M30, EN46 and EN49
are the least risky hazards in the investigated mines.
The high-risk hazards have led to a lot of casualties and major damage to miners and machinery, and unfortunately cannot be perfectly
avoided. The output of risk assessment helps to identify appropriate
controls for reducing or eliminating these risks during the risk mitigation process and can provide a basis for arriving at measures that can
modify the risk. The risk measures could be either likelihood or consequence reducing, depending on whether they apply to the right or to
the left side of the bow-tie diagram.
Generally, the strategy for risk management may be removal of the
hazards or discontinuing the process. Where hazards and therefore
risks remain, then the residual risks have to be controlled or reduced
by engineering and administrative controls. In addition, damage control
and reactivity should be overtaken to understand the hazards before engineering changes to gain effective control by eliminating or effectively
mitigating the risks.
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