NIOSHTIC-2 No. 20031506

The Communication Triangle: Elements of an Effective Warning Message

January 2007

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The lack of good communication is a very real problem in mine emergencies. Sometimes critical information is not communicated to those who need it to make decisions. At other times, those on the receiving end of a warning do not think to ask the right questions. What happens in underground coal mine fires is a case in point. The authors interviewed 48 workers who escaped three serious fires in western Pennsylvania. In each case the location of the fire was known but did not get communicated to many of those who had to evacuate. Sometimes, even the nature of the problem was not clearly communicated, some workers began their evacuation knowing nothing about what was happening. In an effort to improve emergency communication National Institute for Occupational Safety and health (NIOSH) researchers worked with safety professionals to determine what sorts of information are critical in a mine emergency. An extensive list was generated, which proved too long to be remembered by individuals. The list was therefore collapsed into six categories. A communication protocol was derived from these categories.

Author(s):Vaught-C, Brnich-MJ, Mallett-LG
Reference:Coal Age 2007 Jan; 112(1):36-37

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Page last updated: September 17, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Mining Division