Some achievements of VostNII are listed in improving occupational safety in Kuzbass mines. Methane is a major problem: 90.6% of mines is in category III or supercategory; over 21% has an absolute methane emission of 30 m/sup 3//min or more. Another problem is spontaneous fires, which cost 2 million t of coal per year. One method of preventing these is injection of antipyrogens (urea and diammonium phosphate); another is the creation of gel (water glass, ammonium chloride and water) barriers in goaf areas. High pressure water jets are also used. Various methods of improving ventilation systems to match increased coal output are proposed, including drilling large diameter ventilation boreholes from the surface. In Leninskugol' mines the useful air is only 55.8% of the total delivered. More attention should be given to degassing (currently producing 130 million m/sup 3//y of methane). Dust levels are increasing due to the advent of narrow web cutter loaders (100% of coal cutter loaders in Kuzbass mines in 1984). Water injection and spraying are partially effective at dust suppression. Some electrical safety devices developed by VostNII are described.