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Saving lives during major underground mining incidents: becoming prepared for a collaborative response
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Surgery. (Arcum)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8665-9302
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Samverkan för att rädda liv : utveckling av beredskap för allvarliga skadehändelser i underjordsgruvor (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Background: Major incidents in underground mines are uncommon, but they can have severe consequences. In Sweden, the municipal rescue service and the regional emergency medical service (EMS) are dispatched to mining incidents, and together with the privately owned/state owned mineral and metalliferous mining company they perform a rescue operation. The major fire incident of 2013 in a Swedish underground mine led to the realization that there was a general lack of preparedness for managing these underground emergencies.

Aim: The overall aim was to analyze the preparedness for response to major incidents in Swedish underground mines among personnel from mining companies, the rescue service, and emergency medical service.

Methods: In Study I, questionnaires (n=741) assessing Swedish underground mining company personnel’s self-assessed preparedness for emergencies were analyzed by descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, and multiple logistic regression. In Study II, individual interviews with EMS personnel (n=13) were analyzed with qualitative content analysis to identify the latent content. In Study III, six focus group interviews with personnel from mining companies (n=15), the rescue service (n=9), and EMS (n=4) were analyzed with qualitative content analysis and complemented with information from ten individual interviews with EMS personnel. In Study IV, documents (n=144) from collaboration meetings and full-scale exercises were analyzed deductively using the theory of expansive learning.

Results: Most of the Swedish underground mining company personnel considered themselves prepared to act in case of major incidents, and about two thirds of the mining company personnel considered themselves moderately confident that they know how to take care of a seriously injured peer. Their self-perceived preparedness was associated with their familiarity with rescue procedures, their risk perception, and their experience of using self-protective and first aid equipment (Study I). Study II showed that EMS personnel trusted the rescue service and mining company personnel to perform the rescue operation and considered themselves as having a supportive role. In Study III, the mining company, rescue service, and EMS personnel considered that because of the unfamiliar underground mining environment, they have to prepare their organizations for major underground incidents in collaboration with each other. In Study IV, a tentative model was created for the development of an expansive learning process for the organizations’ exercise organizers during a set of collaboration meetings and full-scale exercises.

Conclusion: The preparedness of the mining company, rescue service, and EMS personnel was analyzed through experiences from both real events and full-scale exercises. A holistic perspective of organizational preparedness for major incidents in underground mines has been generated. All organizations have their perspective of rescue operation response, but the shared objective is to save lives and care for the injured mining company personnel by performing an effective rescue operation in collaboration.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: Allvarliga skadehändelser i underjordsgruvor är ovanliga, men när de inträffar kan de få allvarliga konsekvenser. I Sverige är det den kommunala räddningstjänsten och den regionala ambulanssjukvården som tillsammans med det privat eller statligt ägda gruvbolaget genomför en räddningsinsats. Den allvarliga brandincidenten 2013 i en svensk underjordsgruva ledde till insikten att den generella beredskapen för att hantera dessa underjordsskadehändelser är låg.

Syfte: Det övergripande syftet var att analysera beredskapen för att hantera allvarliga skadehändelser i svenska underjordsgruvor hos personal från gruvbolag, räddningstjänst och ambulanssjukvård.

Metoder: I Studie I undersöktes den svenska underjordsgruvpersonalens självskattade beredskap för skadehändelse med en enkät (n=741) och analyserades med deskriptiv analys, explorativ faktoranalys samt multipel logistisk regression. I Studie II genomfördes individuella intervjuer med ambulanspersonal (n=13) vilka analyserades med kvalitativ innehållsanalys för att identifiera det latenta innehållet. I Studie III genomfördes sex fokusgruppsintervjuer med personal från gruvföretag (n=15), räddningstjänst (n=9) och ambulanssjukvård (n=4). Materialet analyserades med kvalitativ innehållsanalys för att identifiera det manifesta innehållet och analysen kompletterades med tio individuella intervjuer med ambulanspersonal. I Studie IV analyserades dokument (n=144) från samverkansmöten och fullskaliga övningar deduktivt baserat på teorin om expansivt lärande.

Resultat: Majoriteten av den svenska underjordsgruvpersonalen ansåg sig vara förberedda för att kunna agera vid allvarliga skadehändelser och runt två tredjedelar av gruvpersonalen ansåg sig vara måttligt förtrogna med hur de skulle omhänderta en svårt skadad arbetskamrat. Gruvpersonalens självskattade beredskap var associerad med kännedom om räddningsprocedurer, riskuppfattning och erfarenhet av att använda skydds- och första hjälpenutrustning (Studie I). Studie II visade att ambulanspersonal förlitar sig på att räddningstjänstens och gruvbolagets personal genomför räddningsinsatsen och att de själva har en stödjande roll. I Studie III ansåg personal från de tre organisationerna att den obekanta miljön medför att de i samverkan behöver förbereda sina organisationer för allvarliga skadehändelser i underjordsgruvor. I Studie IV utvecklades en preliminär modell för expansivt lärande baserad på de samverkansmöten och fullskaliga övningar som organisationernas övningsledare genomförde tillsammans.

Slutsats: Beredskapen hos gruv-, räddningstjänst- och ambulanspersonal har analyserats utifrån deras erfarenheter från verkliga skadehändelser och fullskaliga övningar. En helhetsbild har skapats av organisationernas beredskap för allvarliga skadehändelser i underjordsgruvor. De tre organisationerna har skilda perspektiv vid räddningsinsats men alla har det övergripande gemensamma målet att rädda liv och omhänderta skadade genom att i samverkan utföra en effektiv räddningsinsats.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2020. , p. 87
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 2083
Keywords [en]
Major incidents, preparedness, collaboration, underground mine fires, emergency medical service, rescue service, mining company, full-scale exercises, collaboration project
National Category
Surgery
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-174292ISBN: 978-91-7855-258-0 (electronic)ISBN: 978-91-7855-257-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-174292DiVA, id: diva2:1459898
Public defence
2020-09-18, N Hörsal N320, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish National Board of Health and WelfareSwedish Agency for Economic and Regional GrowthAvailable from: 2020-08-28 Created: 2020-08-21 Last updated: 2023-07-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Preparedness for peer first response to mining emergencies resulting in injuries: a cross-sectional study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preparedness for peer first response to mining emergencies resulting in injuries: a cross-sectional study
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2020 (English)In: BMJ Open, E-ISSN 2044-6055, Vol. 10, article id e036094Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: Identify factors of preparedness for peer first response to underground mining emergencies with injured victims.

Design: Cross-sectional questionnaire study of Swedish underground mineworkers.

Setting: Seven out of nine Swedish underground mines.

Participants: A total of 741 mineworkers out of 1022 (73%) participated in this study.

Interventions: None.

Outcome measures: Level of preparedness for emergencies with injuries in underground mines.

Results: Three factors influenced the preparedness of mineworkers for a peer first response: (1) familiarity with rescue procedures during emergencies with injuries; (2) risk perception of emergencies with injuries and (3) experience of using self-protective and first aid equipment. Mineworkers who believed that they knew how to handle emergencies with injuries (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.38) and those who were trained in the use of self-protective and first aid equipment (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.32) considered themselves to be better prepared for a peer first response than those who were unfamiliar with the rescue procedures or who had not used self-protective and first aid equipment. However, mineworkers who rated the risk for emergencies with injuries as high considered themselves to be less prepared than those who rated the risk as low (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.91 to 0.98).

Conclusion: This study identified three factors that were important for the peer-support preparedness of underground mineworkers. More research is needed to adapt and contextualise first aid courses to the needs of underground peer responders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2020
National Category
Surgery Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Nursing
Research subject
Surgery
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-174286 (URN)10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036094 (DOI)000595708200020 ()2-s2.0-85096082067 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish National Board of Health and WelfareEuropean Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Available from: 2020-08-20 Created: 2020-08-20 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved
2. The medical perspective on mining incidents: Interviews with emergency medical service (EMS) personnel
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The medical perspective on mining incidents: Interviews with emergency medical service (EMS) personnel
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Emergency Services, ISSN 2047-0894, E-ISSN 2047-0908, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 236-246Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine emergency medical service (EMS) personnel’s perceptions and experiences of managing underground mining injury incidents.

Design/methodology/approach: In total, 13 EMS personnel were interviewed according to a semi-structured interview guide. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings: An underground mining environment was described as unfamiliar and unsafe and, with no guidelines for operational actions in an extreme environment, such as underground mines, the EMS personnel were uncertain of their role. They therefore became passive and relied on the rescue service and mining company during a major incident. However, the medical care was not considered to be different from any other prehospital care, although a mining environment would make the situation more difficult and it would take longer for the mine workers to be placed under definitive care.

Originality/value: This study complements earlier studies by examining the EMS personnel’s perceptions and experiences of major incidents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019
Keywords
Preparedness, Emergency medical services, Major incident, Mines
National Category
Surgery
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-165262 (URN)10.1108/IJES-02-2019-0006 (DOI)000493804300002 ()2-s2.0-85073929992 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-11-18 Created: 2019-11-18 Last updated: 2023-07-04Bibliographically approved
3. Preparedness for mining injury incidents: interviews with Swedish rescuers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preparedness for mining injury incidents: interviews with Swedish rescuers
Show others...
2017 (English)In: Safety Science Monitor, ISSN 1443-8844, Vol. 20, no 1, article id 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives. To explore the perceptions and experiences of mining-, rescue service- (RS), and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel regarding how to handle incidents in an underground mine.

Methods. Six focus-group interviews and 10 individual interviews were carried out with groups of mining-, RS and EMS personnel, who served the underground mining industry located in small municipalities in a sparsely populated area of northern Sweden. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results. The three groups mostly described experiences of minor incidents and announced a limited preparedness for handling major mining incidents. Collaboration was described as being difficult because of limited knowledge about the others’ responsibilities and capacities. Few non-mining personnel were trained, or prepared to fulfil their tasks in an underground environment, and some expressed that they would even refuse to go underground because of concerns for their own safety.

Conclusions. There is a need for more collaboration and joint practices between and among the groups involved in rescue operations. Collaboration between mine- and RS personnel exists, but the EMS personnel is largely excluded from this interaction. Therefore, the EMS personnel are insecure about how to handle underground mining incidents. A closer collaboration between all organizations in preparing for mining incidents is emphasized, and would have positive effects on the rescue operation. Some experiences may also be used under similar circumstances, such as incidents in railway and road tunnels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Haninge: IPSO Australia, 2017
Keywords
Collaboration, EMS, mine injury incidents, preparedness, rescue operation, rescue service, Sweden, underground mining
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138757 (URN)
Available from: 2017-08-30 Created: 2017-08-30 Last updated: 2023-07-04Bibliographically approved
4. Expansive Learning Process of Exercise Organizers: The Case of Major Fire Incident Exercises in Underground Mines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expansive Learning Process of Exercise Organizers: The Case of Major Fire Incident Exercises in Underground Mines
Show others...
2020 (English)In: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 12, no 14, article id 5790Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A major fire incident in a Swedish underground mine made the personnel from the mining company and the rescue service realize their limited preparedness. It was the beginning of a collaboration project that included the development of a new exercise model for a more effective joint rescue operation practice. The aim of this study was to explore the collaborative learning process of exercise organizers from the rescue service, mining companies, the emergency medical service, a training company, and academia. The analysis was performed through the application of the theory cycle of expansive learning to the material consisting of documents from 16 collaboration meetings and 11 full-scale exercises. The learning process started by the participants questioning the present practice of the rescue operation and analyzing it by creating a flow chart. An essential part of the process was to model new tools in order to increase the potential for collaboration. The tools were examined and tested during collaboration meetings and implemented during full-scale exercises. The exercise organizers reflected that the process led to organizational development and a better understanding of the other organizations’ perspectives. Consequently, a tentative model for developing the learning process of exercise organizers was developed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2020
Keywords
collaboration, cycle of expansive learning, full-scale exercises, major incident, organizational learning, preparedness, underground mine
National Category
Public Administration Studies Nursing
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-174106 (URN)10.3390/su12145790 (DOI)000555945700001 ()2-s2.0-85092928804 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-08-18 Created: 2020-08-18 Last updated: 2023-08-15Bibliographically approved

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