My research lies at the interface of occupational health and safety, economics and regulatory policies with a focus on addressing:

(1) health impacts of exposure to fine and ultrafine particulates using a combination of field and experimental data, and data analysis tools, and
(2) impacts and life-cycle analysis of policies and regulatory reforms related to health and safety using advanced machine learning tools, and development of an effective safety management system designed for the mining industry.
(3) ground control - hazards and safety

Common to these themes is the observation that mining often creates health and safety concerns and complex environmental challenges. This conflict is central to my research focus and motivates me to find and disseminate pragmatic solutions.

Health and Safety Policy

Policy changes in coal mining: Comparison and effectiveness on reducing accidents in the United States and Australia

Related Presentation

Agrawal S. and Gernand J. “Identification and Grouping of Similar Mines in the United States and Queensland for Analyzing Safety Performance.” Presentation. SME Annual Conference. Phoenix, AZ. Feb. 2016.
Ascertaining the effectiveness of policy changes is difficult because no control group exists to compare against, so any effects that do occur may be due to the change or to the natural course of events. In recent years, jurisdictions in both the United States and Australia have made changes in policy to regulate mining operations with the intent of reducing accidents and worker injuries. This study was conducted to analyze the effect of policy changes on incidences of fatalities and lost-time injuries (LTI) for coal mines in the United States (US), Queensland (QLD) and New South Wales (NSW), Australia. A select population of similar mines in the US, QLD, and NSW concerning production quantities, geology, methods of mining, and other factors were grouped to serve as control groups for one another’s’ policy changes. Then, trends in accidents, fatalities, and LTI before and after regulatory changes were examined. Fatalities and LTI in US mines were higher as compared to QLD and NSW through the group of similar mines displayed much more similar outcomes. Some small trend changes in both locations appear to be policy related based on timing.

Investigation of the cause of natural deaths at the workplace in coal mining industry

My research on identifying the causes of natural deaths at the workplace in Indian coal mining industry during my senior year focused on studying several cases of deaths in Indian coal mines including the medical history of the deceased. As a way to further understand the inbound intricacies of this scenario, my research also included interviewing the families of the dead. The results showed that people with very little to no training were more prone to fatal injuries, pressing the need to mandate training through policy changes.

Occupational Health and Safety

Hydraulic fracturing proppant selection decision analysis and particulate exposure risk

Related Presentations and Posters

  • Agrawal S. and Gernand J. “Risk-Based Decision Making for Fracturing Proppant Selection.” Poster. Energy Days 2016. University Park, PA. May. 2016.
  • Agrawal S. and Gernand J. “Risk-Based Decision Making for Fracturing Proppant Selection.” Presentation. SRA Annual Meeting. Arlington, VA. Dec. 2015.
  • Agrawal S. and Gernand J. “Hydraulic fracturing proppant selection decision analysis and particulate exposure risk.” In Preparation.

My research on determining the risks associated with the use of various chemicals like silica, alumina, and ceramic in proppants ascertained the health impacts from a review of toxicological and epidemiological studies on exposure to fine and ultrafine particulates and recommended exposure limits for these chemicals. I worked with Dr. Jeremy Gernand to develop a multi-attribute decision model to ascertain the effect of these chemicals on human health and determine the risks associated with it using data analysis and modeling tools. Further, I conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess the economic implications of the use of such chemicals.

Advances in Prediction and Control of Air Quality for Surface Mine Operations

Related Publication

  • Gernand J., Silva-Castro J., Agrawal S. and Nieto A. “Advances in Prediction and Control of Air Quality for Surface Mine Operations.” In Review 

I jointly worked with researchers from the University of Kentucky on prediction and control of air quality, analyzing advances on different modeling methods, control strategies, and technologies that have enabled an improved capability to predict the source and health impacts of emissions in a surface mine operation. The research presents a review of the accuracy of these advances in assessing the source and risks of emissions, so as to address significant threats to reduce environmental, health and safety impacts. The results of this research are submitted to the International Journal of Mining, Reclamation, and Environment for review.

Investigation of the use of quarry dust as construction material

My research on addressing the problem of exposure to limestone and granite dust during my sophomore year gave me a first-hand experience on the graveness of the issue of health and safety in the mining industry. The utilization of the generated dust as construction material displayed great potential in secondary construction work. I presented the research at a seminar at Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore.

Related Publication

Agrawal S., Vardhan H., and Aruna M. “Investigation of the use of quarry dust as construction material.” Presentation. KSCST. Surathkal, KA. Sept. 2009.

Ground Control - Hazards and Safety

Estimation of Coal Mine Roof Rating by using the data from a Specialized Probe in Drilled Holes and its visualization.

During the International Conference on Ground Control in Mining 2015, I got to know the work of Dr. Jamal Rostami's team and started working on developing a stand-alone program to calculate CMRR and ARBS from the data collected from the specialized probe in drill holes.

Related Publication

  • Agrawal S., Rostami J., Gernand J., and Lui S. “Estimation of Roof Rating from the Data Collected by a Special Borehole Probe.”  Poster. SME Annual Conference. Denver, CO. Feb. 2017
  • Agrawal S. and Rostami J. "Borehole Data Processing and Visualization using Carlson." Presentation. Annual Project Progress Report. NIOSH Ground Control Capacity Building, Morgantown, WV. July. 2016.
  • Agrawal S., Rostami J. and Gernand J. “Estimation of Coal Mine Roof Rating by using the data from a Specialized Probe in Drilled Holes for Installation of Roof Bolt and its visualization using Carlson.” In Preparation.