Mining Safety Shifts Focus After Rise In Fatalities

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) launched the “Voice in The Workplace” campaign in 2014 to increase safety enforcement by miners themselves. MSHA is working to refocus the agency on preventing mining deaths at metal/nonmetal mines. Since December 2014, there have been 54 deaths, and four additional since the beginning of 2017.

Mining Fatalities by The Numbers

Thanks to the work done by the MSHA, mining-related deaths have seen a sharp decline. While mining fatalities have been decreasing every decade since the early 20th century (with some exceptions). However, even in recent years there has been sharp reductions in miner death or injury.

As the numbers show, mining-related deaths have decreased by nearly 50% since the launch of “Voice in the Workplace":

  • 2011: 16 deaths
  • 2012: 16 deaths
  • 2013: 22 deaths
  • 2014: 30 deaths
  • 2015: 17 deaths
  • 2016: 17 deaths

Coal Mining Deaths Decreasing During the Same Time

Earlier this year, MSHA head Joe Main stated that the decrease in fatalities in metal/nonmetal mines can be credited to “the agency’s use of strategic enforcement tools, including targeted impact inspections that address problem mines quickly.” He also applauded improved compliance by mining companies throughout the industry.

During the launch of “Voice in the Workplace,” he said 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 launched two new campaigns: Walk & Talk and a tool called the “Rules to Live By” Calculator.

Walk & Talk Inspections

The MSHA conducted inspections to focus their attention on the mining occupations 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 in 2010 in an initiative to identify the most frequent standard violations that contributed or caused a fatal accident. There are 19 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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