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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)

Evaluating the Modes of Delivery for Mine Inspector Training and Standardized Testing Protocols

Overview

The objectives of this evaluation is to apply technology to current Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) training methods using contemporary communications technologies, distance learning, and other training approaches to improve consistency in enforcement activities and enhance the knowledge and skills of MSHA mine inspectors requiring mandatory periodic retraining. Through the addition of these training approaches, quicker, more consistent training can be delivered to mine inspectors in a more cost-effective manner. They can also help reduce the variability sometimes associated with the delivery of live training sessions. The design of the training modes will focus on increased retention of knowledge and skills following training; improved consistency and accuracy across inspectors as to what violations are cited and how they are treated; improved inspector alertness, attentiveness, attention to detail during inspections, and improved dissemination of information regarding technological developments and changing engineering practices in mining.

Goals

MSHA has undergone several audits by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in recent years which address how the Agency can better protect miners. Most recently, the OIG conducted an audit where they determined that Journeymen Mine Inspectors do not receive mandated periodic retraining. This evaluation is intended to assist MSHA in addressing this deficiency by identifying the most effective and efficient methods to train mine inspectors in order to assure accuracy and consistency in mine inspections. The results of this effort will form the basis for an evaluation of the most effective and cost efficient way to train MSHA field personnel and, possibly inform decisions by the Department's other worker protection agencies regarding their training modalities.

Tasks

The primary tasks of the evaluation include:

  • Developing realistic, professional training modes of delivery, using MSHA's current course curriculum to optimize each distinct training approach. Each training mode will consist of integrated learning activities designed to improve the skills, knowledge, and abilities of MSHA mine inspectors.
  • Providing professional guidance to ensure quality training, to integrate technical components with other training components if applicable, and to thoroughly assess and document the curricula for the training approaches.
  • Designing test protocols to measure the comprehension, breadth of knowledge and retention for each training approach. The results of this effort will help to improve accuracy and consistency in mine inspections.
  • Developing a prototype demonstration of the content within the proposed target delivery environment.

Key Information

The period of performance of this evaluation is 18 months. The overall budget for the evaluation is $350,725. The evaluation contractor is Adayana. For more information on this evaluation please contact Jonathan Simonetta at simonetta.jon.a@dol.gov.