MSHA Fatality #17

On August 29, 2019, a 25 year-old section foreman with 6 years of mining experience was fatally injured while exiting the longwall face.  The victim was struck and covered by a portion of mine rib measuring 25 feet in length, 3 feet in depth, and 8 ½ feet in height.

Fatality accident scene on August 29, 2019
Best Practices:
  • Be aware of potential hazards when working or traveling near mine ribs.
  • Take additional safety precautions when geologic conditions, or an increase in mining height, could cause roof or rib hazards.
  • Train all miners to conduct thorough and more frequent examinations of the roof, face, and ribs when miners work or travel close to the longwall face.  Continuously monitor for changing conditions.
  • Install rib supports of proper length with surface area coverage, on cycle, and in a consistent pattern for the best protection against rib falls.
Additional Information:

This is the 17th MSHA fatality reported in calendar year 2019.  As of this date in 2018, there were 13 MSHA fatalities reported.  This is the second MSHA fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Pillar or Highwall in 2019.  There was one MSHA fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Pillar or Highwall during the same period in 2018.

Arizona Geological Survey’s (AZGS) annual impact on Arizona’s economy

A new economic impact report shows that the products and services of the Arizona Geological Survey (UA AZGS) contributed nearly $32 million to Arizona’s economy over the past year – a 34-fold return on the survey’s FY-2018 state allocation of $941,000.
In Spring 2019, AZGS contracted with the Univ. of Arizona’s Eller School of Management graduate program to assess the annual contribution of our geologic products and services to Arizona’s economy. The results are in!

For more details, click here for today’s Arizona Geology blog post.

U.S. Department of Labor Selects New Director For OSHA’s Construction Directorate

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor has selected Scott Ketcham as the new director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Directorate of Construction (DOC) in Washington, D.C. Ketcham had served as deputy director of DOC since February 2017.

Prior to coming to OSHA’s national office, Ketcham worked for 19 years as an OSHA acting deputy regional administrator, area director, assistant area director, and compliance officer and manager in offices in the Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia regions. Before joining OSHA, he spent five years as a staff industrial hygienist with the U.S. Army Medical Activity at Bassett Army Hospital on Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. He retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of active and reserve service.

Ketcham holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Alaska, a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Texas A&M University, and is a Certified Safety Professional. He has a strong background in the general industry, maritime and construction industries.

“Scott Ketcham is a dedicated public servant,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. “He has demonstrated strong leadership throughout his OSHA career, and I am confident he will continue to achieve the mission of assuring safe and healthful working conditions for construction workers in his new position.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Arizona Governor Signs Suicide Prevention Training Bill

AZ Family: Arizona Governor Signs Suicide Prevention Training Bill
“Gov. Doug Ducey signed a measure on Wednesday that will expand suicide awareness and prevention training in public schools…”The bill, also known as the Mitch Warnock Act, would require every member of school faculty statewide to undergo training to spot signs of anxiety and depression in teens to prevent suicides.”

In response to calls for more stringent silica regulation, MSHA issues Request for Information on quartz exposure

Photo: VivaColonia/iStockphoto
September 4, 2019

Washington — Amid a push from labor unions seeking stricter regulation of respirable silica dust, the Mine Safety and Health Administration is asking for input on ways to monitor and regulate miner exposure to quartz – the most common form of respirable crystalline silica.

According to a Request for Information published in the Aug. 29 Federal Register, MSHA is interested in feedback regarding permissible exposure limits, possible new or emerging protective technologies, and/or technical and educational assistance. Continue Reading»