Joel Lööw

Technology, work environment and the mining industry

26 January 2019

Our role in SIMS

Together with the outreach team of the SIMS project we’ve put together a short summary of our role in the project, including a few explanatory video interviews.

The videos can be viewed at the project’s work package homepage. Below I’ve included most of the text with some comments.

Summarised in a sentence our work in SIMS is this:

We’re looking at ways in which technology can be developed not only with technical requirements in mind but also on those who will use the technology – today and tomorrow.

This is due to the situation that the mining industry finds itself in:

The mining industry has a hard time recruiting people and many miners are approaching retirement age. At the same time, the mining industry is becoming so technologically advanced that new skills are required by those who work in the industry. Technology can be part of the solution to this problem. But if we are not careful, if it is not developed with the human in the center, it can also make the problem worse.

What is meant by this is that, while there a certainly reasons to develop attractive workplaces just to provide attractive workplaces, the mining industry now faces challenges that require them to do this. The industry sees technology as the solution to the problem – but it is only part of the solution. There are too many examples of technology falling short of their intended effect. Often this is because the user was forgotten or thought off too late. So:

Our conviction is that if the technology is developed on human terms, if the needs and abilities of current and future users are integrated into designs, technology can help solve many of the problems of the mining industry. We are trying to find ways to do this. This includes figuring out what is good with the current technology and what needs to be changed in the future. It is important that all who are affected by technology have a chance to make their voice heard.

This is what we are trying to accomplish through the different tasks of the work package. At the start of the project, for instance, we worked with establishing what current technology does well and what requires rethinking. We now work more with finding ways in which required change can be enacted. In the end we hope that

… technology that is developed in SIMS harmonizes with the future mineworkers, that it contributes to creating a rich and good working life in which it is possible to maintain a healthy balance between work and private life.

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