MSHA – Mine Fatality #24

Original article published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On October 7, 2022, a mechanic was fatally injured when he was engulfed in material after he entered an air separator to clear a blockage.

Accident scene where a mechanic was fatally injured when he was engulfed in material after he entered an air separator to clear a blockage.
Best Practices:
  • Install mechanical flow-enhancing devices, such as mechanical vibratory devices, that can maintain material flow and prevent the need for miners to enter a confined space.
  • Mine operators should establish procedures to clear blockages and train all miners in the procedures.
  • Make sure miners wear a safety belt or harness equipped with a lifeline when entering a confined space, and that a second miner, similarly equipped, is attending the lifeline.
Additional Information:

This is the 24th fatality reported in 2022, and the first classified as “Confined Space.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA ‘actively working’ on a proposed rule on silica, Williamson says

Original article published by Safety + Health
Christopher-Williamson.jpg
Photo: US Department of Labor

Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration is “actively working” toward publishing a proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica, agency administrator Chris Williamson said Oct. 20.

The Department of Labor’s Spring 2022 regulatory agenda – published in June – showed MSHA’s intent to publish in September a notice of proposed rulemaking on silica. During a conference call for agency stakeholders, Williamson didn’t offer an updated timetable during the call but said the rule “is one of the top priorities” at the agency.

“Right now in this country, there’s only one worker population that does not have a certain level of protection when it comes to silica, and that is miners. Right now, under our existing standards, the permissible exposure limit (100 micrograms per cubic meter of air) is double what every other worker in this country has. So I just want to put that out there, that people know that’s the reality. We’re working very hard on an improved health standard that we think will make a difference and will definitely better protect miners.”

During the call, MSHA Chief of Health Gregory Meikle cited NIOSH-supported data that contends silica dust can be up to 20 times more toxic than other dusts. Meikle called on stakeholders to tailor existing best practices toward their individual mines and mine activities.

“Some of the levels we’re seeing on overexposures, we’ve got to get proactive if we’re going to protect miners,” Meikle said.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #22

Original article published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On September 28, 2022, a miner died when he was engulfed in a collapsed stockpile.  The miner was working close to the toe of the stockpile to remove material off the top of a surge tunnel’s feeder to clear a blockage.

Accident scene where a miner died when he was engulfed in a collapsed stockpile.
Photo property of MSHA 
Best Practices:
  • Operators should have procedures to safely clear blockages from feeders, and train miners to stay out of areas where there is a danger of falling or sliding material.
    • Equip feeders with mechanical clearing devices to prevent exposing miners to hazards of falling or sliding material.
  • Make sure miners trim stockpiles to prevent hazards.
Additional Information:

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2022, and the first classified as “Engulfment.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA awards nearly $1M in mine safety training grants

Original article published by MSHA

 

Brookwood-Sago grants seek to make mining safe for workers, operators 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $985,284 in grants to support the development and delivery of education and training by 10 organizations that will help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in, and around the nation’s mines.

Supported by the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety grant program, recipients will create training materials, promote and conduct mine safety training or educational programs, and evaluate their effectiveness. The awards align with the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s emphasis on targeting programs and materials for smaller mines and the miners working at them. MSHA is seeking to educate miners and industry employers about new federal standards, and high-risk activities or hazards the agency identifies.

“The Mine Safety and Health Administration exists to protect the safety and health of the nation’s miners,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The tragedies at the Brookwood and Sago mines are stark reminders of the risks miners face on the job. The grants we’re awarding today will support critically important training and education that the people working in our mines need and deserve.”

Established under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, the program honors 25 miners who died in mine disasters at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001, and at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006.

The recipients Brookwood-Sago grants in fiscal year 2022 are as follows:

  • University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa received $158,962, to develop training materials for a three-hour, instructor-led course to raise workplace hazards awareness among new, inexperienced surface mine operators.
  • Arizona Board of Regents at the University of Arizona in Tucson received $157,936, for comprehensive training, assessment and compliance reporting tools in its “SMARTer Training: A Data-Driven, Collaborative Toolkit to Improve Training and Reporting Outcomes for Contractors and Small Mine Operators” project.
  • Hutchinson Community College in Kansas received $100,300, for hazard recognition training materials to include virtual reality simulation and traditional materials to train Kansas and Nebraska miners.
  • Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky, received $82,438 to develop, market, deliver and evaluate Parts 46 and 48 coal and metal nonmetal Powered Haulage and Mobile Equipment Safety Training.
  • United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, received $55,046 to develop a bilingual “Miners’ Statutory Rights Awareness” training program to complement existing miner’s statutory rights training that may be used to either inform new miners or reinforce the understanding of experienced miners of their legal rights under U.S. laws and regulations and the appropriate response(s) if they encounter unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $120,000, to develop virtual reality training, interactive training materials and New Miner Training Program focused on prevention of unsafe conditions in mines, bring awareness to hazards and preparedness.
  • Western Dakota Technical College, also in Rapid City received $109,945 for training focused on power haulage and mobile equipment safety, and mine emergency prevention and preparedness.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington received $50,000 for training materials focused on identifying fall hazards and best practices in reducing minors’ workplace injuries and fatalities; and to develop fall prevention training for miners.
  • Virginia Department of Energy in Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to enhance the virtual reality training to simulate conditions at mine sites to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions and avoid unsafe acts, in and around mines with the potential to cause accidents in the workplace.
  • West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $100,657, to provide emergency prevention and preparedness training to coal miners and coal mine operators in mine rescue training and dry chemical fire training to respond to emergencies involving fire in underground coal mines.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Preventing and addressing health impacts in the mining community

Original article published by MSHA

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) works to prevent mining injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and promote safe and healthful workplaces for all U.S. miners. The agency name and its mission statement make clear that protecting both miners’ safety and health must be a priority.

At MSHA, we take seriously our mandate to conduct inspections; investigate hazard complaints; offer education, training, and compliance assistance; and work together with labor and mine operators to correct safety hazards and prevent accidents. When a near miss or accident occurs, those are visible events that easily capture one’s attention and quickly lead to efforts to focus on safety. However, health hazards that can make miners sick are harder to identify, analyze and address. Moreover, some of the worst occupational illnesses  such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung disease), silicosis and cancer  develop over time based on miners’ exposure levels and other environmental factors.

 

Miners Health Matters Mine safety and Health logo
Photo property of MSHA 
Through the Miner Health Matters campaign, MSHA will conduct enforcement and outreach efforts to ensure miners working in potentially dangerous mining environments take proper precautions to limit exposures to silica and other dangerous toxins. And MSHA personnel will continue to directly communicate with miners about their rights and the importance of protecting their health whenever we have the opportunity.

Health-Focused Initiatives:

  • Under 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 90, coal miners who have already developed pneumoconiosis can exercise rights that allow them to continue working in healthier parts of the mine. MSHA will work to reduce barriers that may prevent coal miners from choosing to exercise their Part 90 rights.
  • MSHA will publish a proposed rule to better protect all miners from exposure to respirable crystalline silica and to update the existing respiratory protection standards.
  • In June 2022, we announced a Silica Enforcement Initiative to better protect miners from health hazards related to repeated overexposures of silica. The initiative includes inspections, sampling, compliance assistance and direct conversations with miners about their rights to report health hazards.
  • Protecting miners from the risks associated with COVID-19 is especially difficult in underground mines and places where miners were traveling and working closely and without adequate ventilation. MSHA has developed coronavirus guidance and hosted vaccine clinics for miners and their families. These clinics have also provided hundreds of masks and COVID tests in mining communities.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, signed into law by President Biden on Aug. 16, helped to secure federal black lung benefits for miners with black lung disease and their families. Generations of coal miners who sacrificed so much to power our country can rest assured that their benefits are not in jeopardy. If a miner or other beneficiary has questions about benefits through the federal Black Lung program, beneficiaries can call the Department of Labor at 800-347-2502 or email DCMWC-public@dol.gov.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

U.S. DOL launches black lung regulations awareness initiative

Original article published by MSHA

Initiative emphasizes miners’ health, protection of rights as workers
 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced an effort to raise awareness of regulations that give coal miners with development of pneumoconiosis, or black lung, the right to work at a section of a mine with lower levels of dust without having their pay reduced or fearing discrimination or termination.

Part 90 of the Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations protects miners diagnosed with pneumoconiosis, a disease caused by inhaling dust. The regulation applies to all miners at the nation’s surface and underground coal mines, including loadout facilities and preparation plants.

The department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration is launching its Part 90 educational initiative to inform these workers of their eligibility for free medical exams if they believe they have black lung. Mine operators will pay for the exams, which will be approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. If diagnosed, miners with black lung have the right to work in a section of a mine with low dust levels.

The Part 90 initiative is part of MSHA’s broader “Miner Health Matters” campaign to ensure that miners’ health is considered as important as miners’ safety. In addition to raising awareness, the campaign includes enforcement and outreach efforts to ensure miners working in potentially dangerous environments take proper precautions to limit exposures to silica and other dangerous toxins.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is showing that Miner Health Matters by helping the nation’s miners protect their health,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Christopher J. Williamson. “This initiative will help make sure mining industry workers know their rights and how to exercise them to reduce their exposure to the dangers of high levels of coal dust.”

To make information easily accessible, MSHA has updated its web site to highlight miners’ rights to protect their health and to understand and use the Part 90 program.

Assistant Secretary Williamson will discuss the Part 90 program and other efforts to protect miners on Sept. 30 at the 2022 conference of the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics in St. Louis.

Read Assistant Secretary Williamson’s blog about how MSHA is working to protect miners’ health.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #17

Original article published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On August 4, 2022, a mine manager died while performing maintenance on a bulldozer.  While kneeling on the bulldozer’s track, the victim accidentally engaged the lever that put the bulldozer in reverse.  The bulldozer track moved the victim to the rear of the bulldozer where he was run over.

Accident scene where a mine manager died while performing maintenance on a bulldozer.
Photo property of MSHA
Best Practices:
  • Operators should train miners on safe maintenance procedures:
  • turn off the engine
  • block equipment against motion
  • Operators should make sure miners are in a safe location in relation to machine parts that can move.
Additional Information:

This is the 17th fatality reported in 2022, and the seventh classified as “Machinery.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #21

Original article published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On September 9, 2022, a dredge operator drowned while working in a dredge pond.

Accidemt scene where a dredge operator drowned while working in a dredge pond
Photo property of MSHA
Best Practices:
  • Make sure a competent person conducts workplace examinations before miners begin work to identify conditions that may adversely affect safety.
  • Make sure miners wear life jackets or belts where there is danger of falling into water.
  • Make sure miners maintain communication when working alone.
Additional Information:

This is the 21st fatality reported in 2022, and the second classified as “Drowning.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA Emergency Unit wins world championship at international competition testing mine rescue skills

First published by MSHA

Event challenged teams from North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s “Mine Emergency Unit” bested competitors from around the world and finished first at the International Mines Rescue Competition, held Sept. 11-16, 2022, in Beaver, West Virginia.

After a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic, the biennial event resumed at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy where highly skilled teams from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Finland, India, Poland and Zambia competed.

The competition included knowledge and skills challenges based on emergency scenarios, including mine fires and roof collapses. During the events, teams simulated rescues, fighting fires, high-angle rope rescue, first aid, team theory, and technical and team skills. In addition to testing understanding and abilities, the event provides comprehensive learning opportunities for teams to develop greater mine rescue skills and maintain response readiness.

“Mine rescues competitions are demanding tests for highly trained first responders who may face mine emergencies,” explained Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “These events help prepare mine rescuers and ensure that first responders remain safe even as they selflessly risk their lives to save others.”

Among the event’s top finishers were Consol Energy’s “Bailey Blue Team” from Pittsburgh, Doe Run Company’s “Maroon Team” from St. Louis, and Genesis Alkali’s “Blue Team” from Green River, Wyoming. In all, this year’s competition included four teams from the U.S.; five from Canada; three teams from Australia, India, and Zambia; two from Colombia; and one each from Poland and Finland.

“The employees of the Mine Safety and Health Administration are dedicated to supporting the commitment and sacrifice of mine rescuers,” Assistant Secretary Williamson added. “We are very proud that our own Mine Rescue Unit has been recognized as the world champion, and look forward to defending our crown in Colombia in 2024.”

This marks the second time the MSHA MEU Team has finished in the top spot. The MSHA team previously won the first International Mines Rescue Competition in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999. The contest began following the 1998 deaths of six Polish miners at the Niwka-Modrzejow coal mine in Sosnowiec.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #18

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On August 17, 2022, a general inside laborer died when he was caught between a supply car and its coupler.  The victim was sitting on the supply car which was coupled to a locomotive parked in a track spur.  The locomotive was struck by another locomotive pulling three loaded cars into the mine.  The impact knocked the victim off the supply car, killing him.

Accident scene where a general inside laborer died when he was caught between a supply car and its coupler.  The victim was sitting on the supply car which was coupled to a locomotive parked in a track spur. 
Photo property of MSHA
Best Practices:
  • Assure track switches are in the proper position for your direction of travel and the latches are in contact with the rail.
  • Make sure miners are in a safe location away from equipment parked in a track spur when other equipment is passing along the main rail line.
  • Make sure miners communicate their location and intended movements with the dispatcher.  Repeat the switch alignment back to the dispatcher, where applicable.
Additional Information:

This is the 18th fatality reported in 2022, and the fourth classified as “Powered Haulage.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.