A Study of Coal Miners’ Safety Psychological Elements Based on Questionnaire Survey
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A Study of Coal Miners' Safety Psychological Elements Based on Questionnaire Survey
Zeng-bo Li 0 1
Long-kang Wang 0 1
Dong Zhang 0 1
Bin Peng 0 1
Jia-bin Zhang 0 1
Ting Hong 0 1
Han Shen 0 1
Liang Dong 0 1
0 China University of Mining & Technology (Beijing), State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining , 100083 Beijing , China
1 China University of Mining & Technology Beijing), School of Resources & Safety Engineering , 100083 Beijing , China
During the production process, the instability of safety psychological elements of coal miners contributes to unsafe behaviors that may result in fatal accident. To search the dominant psychological elements, three types of unsafe psychology, comprising 18 unsafe psychological elements, are obtained by theoretical analysis and site survey. Then, an assessment model is established, and a matched questionnaire is applied to two large modern coal mines in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Based on questionnaire survey results and analytic hierarchy process (AHP), assessment judgment matrixes are constructed, effect weight is calculated, and consistency check is conducted. The analysis results show that safety psychology elements of defective type are the dominant elements that trigger unsafe behaviors of coal miners.
In recent years, with the increasing investment in
production safety, the improving adjustment in energy
structure, and the improving macroeconomic situation,
Death rate per million tons of coal mines is declining year
by year in China. The rate in 2012 was 0.374, a rate
lower than 0.5 for the first time in history [
situation in China’s coal mines keeps turning better,
however, in comparison with the advanced international
level, the gap is still evident. Death rate per million tons
is roughly 0.02~0.03, and even zero in some years in the
developed nations. This indicates that safety situation of
coal mines is still severe. Researches show that up to
80% of the coal mine accidents is the result of unsafe
behaviours that are the outward manifestation of unsafe
psychology. Therefore, to study the safety psychology of
coal mine workers is of important theoretical and realistic
significance to improve safety situation and protect their
2 Establishment of Assessment Model
on Safety Psychology for Coal Mine
2.1 Theoretical Analysis of Safety Psychology
Safety psychology is a science that aims to minimize and
eliminate accidents from the source [
interpreting, regulating and predicting workers’
behaviours based on the law of the deeply rooted
psychological activity behind behaviours. Safety
psychology is an independent interdisciplinary subject on
the basis of psychology and safety science. Its essence is
the new application of psychology in the field of safety
]. Safety psychology of coalmine is a
special and important research and application field of
safety psychology. It aims to prevent coalmine accidents
and protect life and health of coalminers [
]. It is an
emerging application science that investigates the
occurrence of coalmine accidents and prevents the
psychological elements of mankind and their exerting law
by combining with the production activity law and
specific practices of work safety in coal mines [
Investigation of the influence of the safety psychology
of coalminers on their safety behaviours concentrates on
their safety psychological process, which covers
cognition and safety, emotion and safety, wills and safety,
attention and safety. The four aspects are correlated,
mutually promoted, and unified in safety psychological
]. At first, let us analyse cognition and safety.
Safety cognition process, coalminer-oriented, is a very
complicated processing course of cognition message. As
the processor of message, a coalminer will, through his
physiological organs like eye, nose, ear, hand and foot,
receive the relevant information of the object in
production process, and conduct effect information
process, and thus make wise and correct information
judgment and guarantee the implementation of safety
]. In China, because of the
lowthreshold of coalminers’ work, they have poor education
background and technique competence, and lack
cognition on the underground working environment,
different marks and geographic environment, as a result,
they lack cognition on the objective loopholes in work
safety such as hidden dangers, have no means to do
qualified jobs and cannot ensure work safety [
Second, let us analyse emotion and safety. Safety
emotion is a kind of emotion produced in the body of
coalminers in a given timeframe under the influence of a
given event or scenario. Typical emotional states include
mental state, passion and stress [
]. Practices show that
coalminers are affected by kinds of underground severe
environment such as dim light, black coal and rock, large
dust concentration in workface, threat from gas
explosions and coal-gas outburst. On the one hand, this
circumstance make coalminers form a team unit similar
to a small family where they care for and influence each
other, which is good for formation of the safety
psychology of coalminers. On the other hand, this
circumstance creates their bad-tempered character, which
is adverse to work safety, and sometimes is the direct
trigger of accidents [
Third, let us analyse wills and safety. Wills is the
preparatory state of behavior. Coalminers have endurance
and persistence in special underground environment. For
example, a water-inrush accident, occurred in Jingyang
No.2 mine of Yiyang County of Henan Province, because
of strong wills, coalminers had persisted for 21 days until
they were saved by the rescuers.
At last, let us analyse attention and safety. Attention
means conscious psychological activity’s orientation and
concentration on a given matter. Safety attention directly
influences the safety behaviours of coalminers [
Research indicates that coalminers’ inattention leads to a
large portion of coal mine accidents among quantities of
coalmine safety accidents.
2.2 Assessment model of safety psychology for coal mine
The assessment model of safety psychology is designed
on the basis of the theoretical analysis of coal mine safety
psychology. In this model, unsafe psychological elements
are divided into types of situational, defective and
endogenous. The first is motive-typed where different
levels of need cannot be satisfied, the second is a mental
process-typed where safety cognitive ability is inadequate,
emotion and feeling are confused, and attention is not
concentrated, The third is a personality difference-typed
based on safety character and temperament[
analysing the unsafe psychological elements of three
types, it can be found that both their generation and
evolution mechanism are different (shown in Table 1), so
that further analysis on countermeasures should be
In the assessment model of safety psychology, the
three unsafe psychological types include numerous safe
psychological elements. The elements mean the
psychological factors of coalmines which change under
external environments such as the nature, society, coal
mine enterprises, family and operating environment, and
their own physiological and psychological fluctuations in
the production process. Through theoretical research, site
survey and statistical analysis, it is concluded that there
are 18 safety psychological elements that influence the
safety behaviours of coalminers. They include
carelessness, emotion flaw, inertial violation, inadequate
cognitive level, conformity, poor safety awareness, safety
character, stress state, risky mind, safety temperament,
reversal mind, lack of experience, over fatigue, safety
need, boredom, poor environment, distraction, biorhythm,
etc. The assessment model of safety psychology is as
shown in Fig. 1.
carelessness viinoelarttiioaln coignnaidteivqeulaetveel conformity paowoarrseanfeestsy
Figure 1. Assessment model of safety psychological elements.
fluke mind reversal mind
3 Design of survey questionnaire and survey analysis
3.1 Design questionnaire and implementation of survey
Design of survey questionnaire is unfolded from the
theoretical analysis of coal mine safety psychology and
the assessment model of safety psychological elements.
Based on this, experts are interviewed in coal mine
industry. A preliminary survey questionnaire on
coalminers’ safety psychology is designed. Then, small
scale test is made, the insufficiencies are found and
improved. 32 questions are defined for survey
questionnaire that cover 18 safety psychological elements,
where 11 questions on situational type, 11 questions on
defective type, and 10 questions on endogenous type.
After the survey questionnaire is well-designed, the
staffers of Inner Mongolia Zhongbei Coal Chemicals
Company (Zhongbei) and Inner Mongolia Dongdaneng
Mining Co. Ltd. (Dongdaneng) serve as the assessed
subjects. The controlling party of Zhongbei is a
stateowned enterprise, and its management system can
representatively embody the current state of the central
government-owned enterprises and other state-owned
enterprises in Inner Mongolia, while Dongdaneng is one
of privately-run enterprises in the region which are the
largest in scale and best in economic benefits, and its
management system can fully embody local and private
The implementation of questionnaire survey takes
into account sampling method and survey mode.
Probability sampling method is selected for the survey.
Probability sampling comprises stratified sampling,
cluster sampling, random sampling, etc. Errors can be
calculated. This can better avoid errors in sampling and
coverage. In the implementation process, a large sample
database is established at first, then a survey is conducted
by probability sampling. Prior to implementation of the
survey questionnaire, the purpose was explained to the
coalminers, and the coal mine officials were requested to
lead in the survey. Then, coalminers were asked to
complete the questionnaire. The timeframe of completing
the questionnaire was regulated. Finally, the contact
information of the respondents was left on each
questionnaire for later interviews and improvement of
3.2 Analysis of questionnaire survey
Through arrangement and statistics of the survey
questionnaires, it is concluded that the scores of safety
psychological elements of Zhongbei’s coal mines are
higher than Dongdaneng’s. Moreover, the higher the
academic degree, the more stable safety psychological
quality, so is the position. However, among situational,
defective and exogenous safety psychological elements, it
is hard to determine the major element that triggers
unsafe behaviours of coalminers. Therefore, analytical
hierarchy process (AHP) is adopted to determine the
weight of safety psychological elements. The purpose is
to decide what safety psychological element exerts the
most influence on the coalminers. AHP consists of
construction of judgment matrix, calculation of weight
and consistency check.
3.2.1 Construction of judgment matrix
As illustrated in Figure 1, the assessment model of safety
psychological elements is a hierarchical-structured model.
The target layer is the assessment result of safety
psychological elements (A). The criterion layer is the
safety psychological elements of Situational, Defective
and Endogenous, set as B1, B2 and B3, respectively. The
grade-II influential factors of Situational safety
psychological elements (B1) include poor environment,
stress state, lack of experience, over fatigue (B14) and
distraction (B15). The grade-II influential factors of
Defective safety psychological elements (B2) include
carelessness (B21), inertial violation (B22), inadequate
cognitive ability (B23), conformity (B24), poor safety
awareness (B25), fluke mind (B26) and reversal mind (B27).
Grade-II influential factors of Endogenous safety
psychological elements (B3) include emotion flaw (B31),
safety character (B32), safety temperament (B33), safety
need (B34), boredom (B35) and biorhythm (B36).
By use of paired comparison method, the safety
psychological elements in the three types are scored in
pairwise comparison to construct judgment matrix A.
9level scoring method is used for assessment criteria.
Scoring criteria are shown in Table 2. In the judgment
matrix A, if element i is compared with element j, its
importance is aij, the ratio of representation between
element j and element i is aij =1/aij.
2,4,6,8 The mean value of the above adjacent judgments
The data of Zhongbei was processed. In order to
overcome the influence of subjective factors on AHP
results to the largest extent, the mean scores of 100
samples in situational, defective and endogenous were
analyzed, and pairwise comparison was done. By giving
quotients and differences and amplifying appropriate
multiples, they were made to accord with the
requirements of 9-level scoring method. The results are
as shown in Table 3. In like manner, the data of 100
samples of Dongdaneng were calculated. The results are
as shown in Table 4.
3.2.2 Calculation of weight
Matrix A obtained from Table 3 is just the judgment of
AHP. Generally, the eigenvector of the largest
characteristic root is considered as weight vector. The
weight vector is just the weight index of the elements of
this layer in respect to a factor of its upper layer. At first,
each column of the judgment matrix A is normalized,
Bij , i 1, 2,3 , j 1, 2, 3
i 1, j 1
Normalized judgment matrix B is obtained. Matrix B
is added by row, namely
In order to assess the reasonable degree of the judgment
matrix, it is needed to make consistency check for the
matrix. After the weight is obtained, the largest
eigenvector of the matrix A is attained.
where, λmax is the largest characteristic root of matrix A; n
is the number of factors; Wi is the weight of factor i. The
values of λmax and Wi are shown in Table 5.
According to the value of the average random
consistency index RI of same order matrix as shown in
Table 6, 3rd order matrix’s =0.52. Then consistency ratio
CR is calculated with formula 5
CI / RI
If CR<0.1, the consistency of the judgment matrix is
acceptable. It can be known from the above calculations,
CR of Zhongbei’s judgment matrix is 0.0176, and CR of
Dongdaneng’s judgment matrix is 0.0036, both less than
0.1. Therefore, the coefficients of the judgment matrixes
shown in Table 3 and Table 4 are reasonable and
According to Table 3 and Table 5, In Zhongbei’s
judgment matrix, weight coefficient of defective
psychological elements is the largest, endogenous
elements come second, and situational elements are in the
last place. This demonstrates that, although the
stateowned coal mine has higher quality coalminers and pays
them well, and has better coal mining mechanization, it
does not adequately train the staff on safety, and the
coalminers generally have defective mind such as
According to Table 4 and Table 5, in Dongdaneng’s
judgment matrix, the weight coefficient of defective
psychological elements is the largest, situational elements
come second, and endogenous elements are in the last
place. It can be seen that, whether for the state-owned
coal mine or for the private-owned one, defective
psychological elements are the most important factors
that influence the coalminers’ safety psychology.
Therefore, strengthening safety training, improving safety
management level and formation of sound corporate
safety culture in coalmine, enterprises can effectively
reduce the unsafe behaviours of coalminers, and
effectively prevent safety accidents. Meanwhile, it can be
noticed that, because the private-owned Dongdaneng’s
miners are of lower academic degree and poorer quality,
and their daily work intensity is higher, situational
psychological elements also significantly influence their
safety psychological state, and cannot be ignored.
Theoretical analysis of coal mine safety psychology and
thorough analysis of coalminer’s safety psychological
process lay a solid foundation for determining the factors
of safety psychological elements.
According to the working environment of coalminers
and their own condition, 18 coal mine safety
psychological elements are put forward, and the
assessment model and survey questionnaire for
coalminer’s safety psychological elements are designed.
By statistical analysis of the survey questionnaires, it
is concluded that the safety psychological level of
workers in state-owned coalmine is better than that of
workers in private-owned coalmine; the higher the
academic degree of coalminers, the longer their service
life, the better their safety psychological elements. AHP
analysis reveals that safety psychological elements of
defective type are major factors that influence the safety
behaviours of coalminers.
The questionnaire and assessment model maybe has
limitation to some extent, we need explore more
psychological elements based on site experience and
development of safety science and psychology.
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