Rise in Fatalities Shifting the Focus of Mining Safety
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) launched the “Voice in The Workplace” campaign last year in an effort to encourage more safety enforcement by miners themselves. MSHA is working to refocus the agency on preventing mining deaths at metal/nonmetal mines. In the past 16 months, there have been 37 deaths, four since the beginning of 2015.
Mining Fatalities By The Numbers
A quick look at yearly totals will tell you that mining related deaths are on the rise and have been for years.
- 2011 = 16 deaths
- 2012 = 16 deaths
- 2013 = 22 deaths
- 2014 = 25 deaths
Coal Mining Deaths Decreasing During the Same Time
Contrary to the rise in mining fatalities in metal/nonmetal mines, the number of coal mining deaths actually decreased over the same period. There were 14 coal mining fatalities in 2014, the lowest on record.
MSHA head Joe Main stated that the increase in fatalities in metal/nonmetal mines is “unacceptable” and that the MSHA will be “enlisting the support of the entire mining industry to help us refocus” on preventing mining fatalities. To facilitate this goal, Main is launching two new campaigns: Walk & Talk and a tool called the Rules to Live By Calculator.
Walk & Talk Inspections
The MSHA conducted walk and talk inspections recently and focused their attention on the mining positions that suffered the most fatalities: truck drivers, contractors, and supervisors. MSHA will continue to perform these inspections and mine operators should expect them to maintain their focus on these high-risk occupations.
Rules to Live By Calculator
This online tool was actually launched in 2010 in an initiative to identify the most frequent standard violations that contributed or caused a fatal accident. There are nineteen priority standards in place for metal/nonmetal mines, this initiative focuses on enforcement of the ones most commonly associated with deaths in mines. For a look at the Rules to Live By Calculator, use this link.
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