April 1, 2021

NIOSH to Study Lighting Interventions for Underground Mines

A new project proposed by NIOSH would examine the effect of lighting interventions on circadian disruption and well-being among underground mineworkers—particularly those working in shifts. According to the agency, underground miners’ lack of exposure to daylight can lead to fatigue and circadian disruption, which can cause sleep loss and reduce alertness. NIOSH warns that this increases the risk of accidents in mines and can result in health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The agency’s proposed study would evaluate how blue- and red-light treatment at the beginning of workers’ shifts affects task performance, sleepiness and alertness, subjective well-being, sleep efficiency, and circadian rhythms among underground mine workers. Researchers intend to administer surveys and collect biometric data while conducting the study.

NIOSH hopes that the findings of the study can be used to reduce fatigue and circadian disruption among underground mineworkers through new recommendations and interventions. The agency’s research is also intended to help establish the effectiveness of new “human-centric lighting” interventions so that the experimental interventions could be commercialized by mine lighting companies and used in underground coal and metal mines.

Comments on this proposed project are being collected until May 18, 2021. See the Federal Register notice about the project for further details.