MSHA – Mine Fatality #21

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On July 28, 2021, a miner was standing on a rock ledge to extract dimensional stone when a triangular section of the rock broke off, causing the miner to fall approximately 35 feet.

Accident scene where a miner was standing on a rock ledge to extract dimensional stone when a triangular section of the rock broke off, causing the miner to fall approximately 35 feet.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Use fall protection when a potential fall hazard exists.  Ensure fall protection has a suitable fall arrest and secure anchorage system.
  • Examine working places to identify loose ground or unstable conditions before work begins, after blasting, and as changing ground conditions warrant.  Ensure examiners have adequate training and experience to recognize potential hazards.
  • Assess risks and control hazards before beginning work activities.  Remain a safe distance from cracks and any sign of unstable ground conditions.
  • Assure a safe means of access is provided and maintained to all working places.  Use personnel lifts and ladders, as required.
  • Train miners and ensure they perform work safely, use tools properly, and utilize personal protective equipment correctly.
Additional Information:

This is the 21st fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Falling, Rolling, or Sliding Rock or Material of Any Kind.”


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 stand-down for powered haulage safety set for July 20

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Stand down for Safety Day
Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA — Alarmed by a recent surge in fatal and nonfatal work-related injuries involving powered haulage activity, the Mine Safety and Health Administration on July 20 will host a national Stand Down for Safety Day to help educate miners and employers in a bid to reduce injuries.

“All levels of MSHA enforcement staff will visit mines to meet with miners and operators,” the agency says. “MSHA staff will emphasize the need to comply with best safety practices for powered haulage, vehicle rollovers and miner training.”

The agency reports that, as of July 15, nine fatalities and 185 nonfatal injuries related to powered haulage have occurred this year.

On. Jan. 13, MSHA announced that 29 miners died on the job last year, marking the sixth straight year in which the annual total was below 30. Although the agency reported a significant decrease in deaths related to powered haulage in 2020 – 21% of the overall total – fatalities involving the activity have made up about half of miner fatalities so far this year, according to data presented June 9 during a virtual conference call for injury stakeholders.

MSHA offers numerous best practices for powered haulage:

For surface operations:

  • Always dump material in a safe location.
  • Always construct substantial berms as a visual indicator to prevent over travel.
  • Establish safe traffic patterns with proper signage.
  • Chock wheels or turn them into a bank when parking mobile equipment on a grade.

For underground operations:

  • Stop and sound audible warning device before tramming equipment through ventilation curtains.
  • Look in the direction of travel and stay in the operator’s compartment while operating mobile equipment.
  • Install reflective signs or warning lights in low clearance areas.

For conveyors:

  • Design, install and maintain guards.
  • Lock and tag conveyors before performing work.

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.

Mental illness an ‘unrecognized crisis’ among miners with black lung, study shows

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Charlottesville, VA — Coal miners with black lung disease commonly face various mental health issues, including thoughts of suicide, results of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Virginia show.

The researchers examined data from more than 2,800 coal miners who were evaluated for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder through a voluntary survey at Stone Mountain Health Services, a black lung clinic in Jonesville, VA. The average age of the participants – an overwhelming majority of whom were white males – was 66.

More than 1 out of 3 participants reported symptoms consistent with a major depressive disorder (37.4%) or had clinically significant anxiety (38.9%). Additionally, 26.2% exhibited symptoms of PTSD and 11.4% had considered suicide in the past year. The percentage of suicidal thoughts among all men in Virginia is 2.9.

The researchers note that the percentage “of mental illness far exceeded those documented in coal mining populations internationally.” Miners who need supplemental oxygen to assist with breathing showed accelerated rates of suicidal thoughts (15.9%), anxiety (47.7%) and depression (48.5%).

“This study highlights the unrecognized crisis of mental illness in miners that warrants urgent attention, resources and expanded care,” Drew Harris, lead study author and pulmonary medicine expert at UVA Health, said in a press release, adding that the percentage of “mental illness identified in this large population of U.S. coal miners is shocking. Improved screening and treatment of mental illness in this population is an urgent, unmet need that warrants urgent action.”

Also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, black lung is a deadly but preventable condition. Rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the past 15 years, says NIOSH, which adds that symptoms may include coughing, excessive phlegm, shortness of breath, labored breathing and chest tightness.

The agency provides free, confidential health screenings through its Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program.

The study was published online May 25 in JAMA Network Open.


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.

Recent Vehicle Rollover Accidents – Safety Alert

First published by MSHA

Miners continue to die in rollover accidents.

Fatalities occurred when vehicles flipped over backwards, rolled over, and tipped over on their sides.

  • Deceased miners were operating haul trucks, excavators, bulldozers, front end loaders, and service trucks while working or traveling near the edge of dump sites, elevated roadways, embankments, ponds, and excavations.

Numerous other serious injury and close call accidents occurred involving haul trucks, water trucks, excavators, motor graders and pickup trucks. Contributing factors included the non-use or unbuckling of seat belts; jumping from vehicles; brake failure; distracted driving; loss of vehicle control; traveling or working too close to unconsolidated roadways; inadequate berms; pushing through berms; and failure to perform workplace examinations.

Accident scenes where the accidents took place
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Examine and maintain the workplace: dump sites, roadways, ramps and berms. Unload on level, stable ground behind the dump berm or block, well back from the edge or with spotter assistance.
  • Maintain control of the vehicle: operate at safe speeds, especially on curves, and when turning or cornering; center the vehicle in the travel lane; avoid distractions.
  • Establish traffic rules: post signage where necessary and ensure these rules are followed.
  • Maintain vehicles in good condition:  brakes; wheels and tires; steering/operating controls; lights; windows; and wipers.
  • Ensure that seat belts are maintained in good condition and worn at all times: remain inside the cab; never attempt to jump clear; consider the use of four-point seat belt systems and new technology that provides early warning of tipping.

*Make sure miners and mine operators are trained in best practices.


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 16th and 17th

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITIES – On June 9, 2021, two miners were fatally injured when a locomotive collided with the personnel carrier in which they were riding.

accident scene where two miners were fatally injured when a locomotive collided with the personnel carrier in which they were riding
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Install lights or other engineering controls to let miners know when it is safe to travel on track haulageways.
  • Implement a communicaton system so that one person, who is not on any mobile equipment, has the sole authority to authorize travel on track haulageways.
  • Establish and maintain effective communication protocols that require identification, location and intended travel, between locomotives, light vehicles and foot traffic.
  • Train miners on proper traffic patterns and procedures.
Additional Information:

These are the 16th and 17th fatalities reported in 2021, and the 8th and 9th 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.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #15

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On June 7, 2021, a miner entered the top of a primary feed hopper to break up and remove a large rock. Raw material that remained on the sides of the hopper sloughed off and engulfed the miner.

Accident scene where a miner entered the top of a primary feed hopper to break up and remove a large rock. Raw material that remained on the sides of the hopper sloughed off and engulfed the miner.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Equip hoppers with mechanical devices, grates/grizzlies or other effective means of handling material so miners are not required to enter or work where they are exposed to entrapment by caving or sliding material.
  • Establish and assure policies and procedures are followed to safely remove blockages in bins and hoppers. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
  • Provide a safe means of access that allows miners to safely conduct tasks such as removing large rocks and other material.
  • Wear an appropriate safety harness, lanyard and lifeline which are securely anchored and constantly monitored and adjusted by another person, as needed, prior to entering bins or hoppers.
  • Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition especially when removing blockages in bins or hoppers.
Additional Information:

This is the 15th fatality reported in 2021, and the second classified as “Handling Material.”


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 Offering $1M in Safety Grants

First published by MSHA.

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today the availability of up to $1 million to fund grants to support education and training to help mine workers identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions.

The funding, made available by the department’s Brookwood-Sago grant program, will enable grant recipients to develop training materials, provide mine safety training or educational programs, recruit mine operators and miners for training, and conduct and evaluate training. The amount of each individual grant will be at least $50,000, and the maximum individual award will be up to $1 million.

Administered by MSHA, the 2021 selection process will include special consideration for programs that focus on powered haulage (in particular, reducing vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, increasing seat belt use and improving belt conveyor safety), improving safety among contractors, reducing electrocutions, improving training for new and inexperienced miners, mine emergency prevention and preparedness, falls from equipment, respiratory hazards and other programs to prevent unsafe conditions in mines.

MSHA will also place special emphasis on programs and materials that target miners at smaller mines, including training miners and employers about new MSHA standards, high-risk activities or hazards MSHA identifies.

Visit grants.gov to apply for the Brookwood-Sago grants. Applications must be received by May 27, 2021. MSHA will award grants on or before Sept. 30, 2021.

The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 established the Brookwood-Sago grant program in honor of the 25 miners who died at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 and at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006.


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.

Mine Safety Training Grants

First published by MSHA.

US Department of Labor Announces Availability of $10.5 Million for Mine Safety Training Grants

ARLINGTON, VA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the availability of $10,537,000 in state grant funding to provide training and retraining of miners and mine operators working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines. The training is federally mandated.

Any state in which mining takes place may apply for the grant. MSHA may fund 80 percent of the activities under a state grant program, and the state must provide at least 20 percent of the total program costs.

The closing date for applications is May 27, 2021. MSHA will award grants on or before Sept. 30, 2021.

MSHA’s goal is to prevent fatalities, disease and injury from mining and secure safe and healthful working conditions for America’s miners. MSHA recognizes the importance of training miners and others to prevent workplace injuries, fatalities, and illnesses.

Agency Mine Safety & Health Administration

Date March 29, 2021

Release Number 21-307-NAT
Contact: Laura McGinnis
Phone Number 202-693-4653
Emailmcginnis.laura.k@dol.gov

Contact: Grant Vaught
Phone Number 202-693-4672
Emailvaught.grant.e@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.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #7

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On March 12, 2021, a miner was fatally injured while attempting to insert a steel pin into a spud beam.

Accident scene where a miner was fatally injured while attempting to insert a steel pin into a spud beam.
Best Practices:
  • Always assure hoisted equipment movement has stopped and the hoist operator has set the brake before working on hoisted equipment.
  • Assure the hoist operator can see miners working on hoisted equipment.
  • Establish an effective communication protocol, which includes confirmation of instructions, between the hoist operator and miners working on hoisted equipment.
  • Position yourself in a safe location to maintain balance and protection from any energy of cantilevering tools or objects.
  • Stay in a Safe Zone when working around cables and sheave wheel systems.
  • Always maintain a work area that is clean and clear of debris.
  • Train equipment operators in the safe performance of their tasks and potential hazards.
Additional Information:

This is the seventh fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Handling Material.”


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 #5

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Feb. 25, 2021, a 26-year old plant operator died after entering a cyclone discharge box.  The local fire department recovered the victim lodged in an 18-inch wide discharge pipe that was full of water.

Accident scene where a 26-year old plant operator died after entering a cyclone discharge box.
Best Practices:
  • Wear a fall protection harness, properly tie off to a permanent support structure, and attach a lifeline when entering a bin or other confined space.  Have a second person monitor the lifeline to make sure there is no slack in the fall protection system.
  • Use personnel lifts or ladders to safely access elevated work areas.
  • Always use fall protection when there’s a potential fall hazard.
  • Examine work areas and equipment.  Report defects and do not use unsafe work equipment.
  • Assess risks and hazards before beginning maintenance activities.
  • Train miners to safely perform their tasks and properly use their personal protective equipment.
Additional Information:

This is the fifth fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Slip or Fall of Person.”


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.