MSHA is Taking Steps to Increase Vaccinations in Mines Across the Country

First published by MSHA

Photo: MSHA

MSHA’s  Miner Vaccination Outreach Program (MVOP) organizes voluntary, free vaccination clinics in mining communities and provides educational outreach regarding the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

Participation in the MVOP program is completely voluntary and free for qualified mine operators. MVOP program representatives will collaborate with industry stakeholders to identify convenient locations, coordinate with health professionals to provide vaccine administration services, and develop communication programs to address the community’s questions and concerns.

MVOP’s pilot program was conducted October 2021-March 2022 in Kentucky and Arizona. The program is now available in other locations, subject to staffing availability in those areas.

Click here to send a message to MSHA to request more information about the vaccination program.


Kentucky Crushed Stone Association Safety & Education Seminar
Jan. 26, 2022 (2:00pm-6:00pm EST)
Marriott Louisville East, Louisville, KY
Open to public

Asarco Ray Mine
Jan. 25, 2022
Kearny, AZ
Mine employees only

Asarco Mission Mine
Jan. 26, 2022
Sahuarita, AZ
Mine employees only

MSHA has received a high volume of questions regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 and both mine operator actions and MSHA actions in response. This information sheet provides practices for operators and miners to minimize the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 and actions MSHA is taking to do the same.

What should mine operators and miners do?

  • Avoid close contact: Put distance between yourself and other people (about 6 feet). This includes not crowding personnel carriers, hoists and elevators, or other means of transportation at the mine.
  • Clean and disinfect: Wipe down equipment and other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Wash hands: If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.

See additional guidance on the CDC’s Prevention page

Mine safety campaign to reinforce operators’ obligation to train miners on the job properly

First published by MSHA

Photo property of USDOT

WASHINGTON – Over the past year, dozens of miners have been injured or killed in mining incidents, many of which could have been prevented with proper training and attention to tasks. This unacceptable trend has prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to initiate a new safety campaign to reach miners and educate mine operators on their responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and prevent deadly accidents.

The department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the Take Time Save Lives campaign to reach miners, promote best practice resources, and ensure mine operators have the tools they need to fully train miners to use equipment.

“The purpose of this new campaign is simple: mine operators need to take the time to train miners on equipment and safety protocols, and miners need to take time to remember their training before they begin a task,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Jeannette Galanis. “While the Take Time Save Lives campaign specifically highlights best practices for frequently occurring incidents, our goal is to reach miners with a wide-ranging set of resources. MSHA will continue to ensure miners have the knowledge to stay safe on the job, but it’s up to mine operators to make sure that miners are fully trained and able to take time to follow best safety practices that can prevent deadly accidents.”

Miners and operators can find training resources and safety best practices for:

  • Powered haulage safety.
  • Roof and rib falls.
  • Fire suppression and prevention.
  • Fatality updates.

Read Acting Assistant Secretary Galanis’ blog post on the new safety campaign.

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.

Bill would restore increased tax rate on coal to fund black lung disability benefits

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — Proposed legislation would create funding for health care and other benefits for coal miners who have black lung disease by extending, for 10 years, a recently expired excise tax rate increase on coal production.

Black lung is another name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – a deadly condition caused by exposure to respirable coal mine dust.

The original increase excise tax rate, which supports the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, expired Dec. 31. H.R. 6462, introduced Jan. 20 by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Alma Adams (D-NC), would restore it. Although mine operators are generally responsible for paying black lung benefits, the fund helps finance benefits for miners and eligible survivors or dependents when no responsible mine operator is identifiable or the operator is out of business.

Effective Jan. 1, the tax rate fell to 50 cents a ton on underground coal and 25 cents a ton on surface coal – a 55% reduction from the previous rates of $1.10 and 55 cents, respectively. The fund already stands about $5 billion in debt, according to a press release from the House Education and Labor Committee, of which Scott is chair.

The release also cites a May 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office that concluded failure to extend the previous tax rate will swell the fund’s debt to roughly $15 billion by 2050.

“Long-term funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is a necessity,” Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America International, said in the release. “Miners are suffering from [black lung] because they dedicated their lives to providing this nation with electricity and steel. The least Congress could do is ensure that the benefits they depend on to survive will always be there.”

In a November 2020 report, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General notes that more than three times as many coal miners were identified as having black lung disease from 2010 to 2014 compared with 1995 to 1999.

“With the number of black lung cases rapidly increasing, Congress must take action to secure health care and benefits for disabled miners,” Adams said in the release. “We can’t allow the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to sink deeper into debt.”

In September, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced similar legislation (S. 2810). The bill hasn’t advanced past the Senate.

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 publishes posters on wintertime hazards

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA — The Mine Safety and Health Administration has published a series of posters intended to help mine operators mitigate hazards that occur during winter months.

Topics include limited visibility, slippery walkways, and freezing and thawing highwalls.

“Winter presents different challenges to miners, especially in those places with snow and ice,” MSHA says. “In addition to other safety measures, miners must take extra precautions in the winter months.”

Agency guidance for surface mines includes:

  • Remove snow and ice from roads and walkways.
  • Drive slowly and maintain distance between vehicles.
  • Check highwalls, benches and roadways, especially after each rain, freeze or thaw.
  • Examine equipment for exhaust leaks.
  • Maintain equipment to operate safely in cold weather.
  • Apply sand or salt to walkways to improve traction.
  • Always wear a seat belt when in vehicles.
  • Check for slip and trip hazards.
  • Wear footwear that grips.

For coal mines:

  • Properly ventilate the mine.
  • Apply liberal amounts of rock dust.
  • Conduct frequent examinations.

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.

US Department of Labor announces proposed rule to require mine operators to improve safe usage of mobile, powered-haulage equipment

First published by MSHA

Photo property of MSHA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced a proposed rule to require mine operators employing six or more miners to develop a written safety program for mobile and powered haulage equipment (excluding belt conveyors) at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. This proposed rule is one of several actions MSHA has taken to reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries involving surface mobile equipment used at mines and to improve safety and health.

Under the proposed rule, mine operators would implement a written safety program including actions to identify hazards and risks to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment. Mine operators would have the flexibility to devise a safety program for their specific mining conditions and operations. In addition, MSHA would encourage its state grantees to provide training to address hazards and risks involving surface mobile equipment in small mining operations.

Read the proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 8, 2021.

Learn more about MSHA and its rulemaking.

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.