MSHA – Mine Fatality #13

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On June 17, 2022, a contract miner died when the compactor he was operating overturned, pinning him beneath the cab.  As the miner was backing up, the left tire went off the edge of a four-foot embankment, causing the compactor to overturn.

Aciident scene where a contract miner died when the compactor he was operating overturned, pinning him beneath the cab. 
Photo property of MSHA
Best Practices: 
  • Wear seat belts at all times when operating equipment.
  • Train miners to perform tasks safely, and to recognize potential hazards.
Additional Information:

This is the 13th fatality reported in 2022, and the 4th 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 Offering $1M in Safety Grants

First published by MSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a funding availability of up to $1 million in grants through its Brookwood-Sago grant program to support education and training to help the mining community identify, avoid and prevent unsafe and unhealthy working conditions in and around the nation’s mines.

Established by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, the program’s efforts to make mines safer and healthier honors 25 miners who perished in disasters at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 and at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006.

Administered by the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Brookwood-Sago grants will focus education and training programs on occupational hazards, including:

  • Exposures to respirable dust and crystalline silica.
  • Powered haulage and mobile equipment safety.
  • Mine emergency preparedness and rescue.
  • Electrical safety.
  • Contract and customer truck drivers.
  • Improving training for new and inexperienced miners, and managers and supervisors performing mining tasks.
  • Pillar safety for underground mines.
  • Falls from heights.

The grants may also support programs emphasizing training on miners’ statutory rights, including the right to a safe and healthy working environment, to refuse an unsafe task, and to have a voice in the safety and health conditions at the mine. Recipients may use the grant funding to develop educational and training materials, recruit mine operators and miners for the training, and to conduct and evaluate training.

In awarding the grants, MSHA will give special emphasis to education and training programs that target miners at smaller mines and underserved populations in the mining industry. They will also prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion.

Learn more or submit a grant application. The closing date for applications is Aug. 23, 2022. MSHA will award grants on or before Sept. 30, 2022. Learn more about MSHA.


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.

DOL Finds Illinois Mine Operator Tried to Conceal Underground Fire

First published by MSHA

MSHA finds M-Class Mining didn’t tell miners of a dangerous fire hazard, continued operations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has proposed nearly $1.2 million in civil penalties to M-Class Mining LLC, a Macedonia, Illinois, coal mine operator. MSHA cited the operator for continuing to operate the mine without evacuating miners with a fire underground and failing to notify MSHA of the fire. The fire broke out on a longwall section on Aug. 13, 2021.

Late on the morning of Aug. 14, 2021, after learning of the unextinguished fire through an anonymous complaint, MSHA issued an order to withdraw all miners from the mine and began an accident investigation. The investigation found that the operator allowed continued coal production and did not take immediate actions to protect the safety and health of miners.

Specifically, MSHA inspectors determined M-Class Mining LLC failed to follow the approved Mine Emergency Evacuation and Firefighting Program and evacuate the miners; did not notify MSHA within 15 minutes of the fire’s start as the law requires; and failed to fully comply with federal orders to withdraw miners from the mine.

“M-Class Mining LLC deliberately jeopardized the lives of the very miners it was responsible for protecting, and violated numerous important safety and health standards in the process,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The fact that this operator continued business as usual while miners underground had no idea there was an ongoing fire hazard more than justifies the civil penalties that we propose.”

MSHA issued 14 citations to the M-Class mine, including 10 related to the operator’s reckless disregard for the miners’ safety and health. Two of the 10 proposed citations are flagrant: for the operator not evacuating the mine when the fire was located, and for allowing miners to work underground without being tracked by the mine tracking system. A flagrant violation may be assessed the highest penalty allowed by law.

MSHA has assessed $1,165,396 in proposed penalties for the violations.

M-Class Mining LLC has 30 days to pay or contest the violation or penalties to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.


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 takes action to reduce miners’ exposure to silica dust as work continues on an improved health standard

First published by MSHA

MSHA launched unprecedented effort to protect miners
from serious illnesses such as black lung disease, silicosis

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched a new enforcement initiative to better protect the nation’s miners from health hazards resulting from repeated overexposure to respirable crystalline silica. MSHA reports silica dust affects thousands of miners each year and, without adequate protection, miners face risks of serious illnesses, many of which can be fatal.

Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth’s crust. Materials like sand, stone, concrete and mortar contain crystalline silica. Respirable crystalline silica – minute particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary beach sand – becomes airborne during cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone and rock.

Without proper protections and engineering controls in place, miners can be exposed to dangerous levels of crystalline silica particles, which increases their risk of developing serious silica-related diseases. These conditions include incurable lung diseases such as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, commonly referred to as “black lung;” progressive massive fibrosis, the most severe form of black lung; silicosis; lung and other cancers; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and kidney disease.

“Simply put, protecting miners from unhealthy levels of silica cannot wait,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “We are committed to using every tool in MSHA’s toolbox to protect miners from developing debilitating and deadly lung diseases that are entirely preventable. We have seen too many miners carrying oxygen tanks and struggling to breathe just to take a few steps or do the simplest of tasks after having their lungs destroyed by toxic levels of respirable dust.”

“Our agency is working hard and is committed to issuing a silica rule that will enhance health protections for all miners. The enforcement initiative that we are announcing today is a step we can take now while we continue the rulemaking process toward the development of an improved mandatory health standard,” Williamson added.

As part of the program, MSHA will conduct silica dust-related mine inspections and expand silica sampling at mines, while providing mine operators with compliance assistance and best practices to limit miners’ exposure to silica dust.

Specifically, the silica enforcement initiative will include:

  • Spot inspections at coal and metal nonmetal mines with a history of repeated silica overexposures to closely monitor and evaluate health and safety conditions.
  • Increased oversight and enforcement of known silica hazards at mines with previous citations for exposing miners to silica dust levels over the existing permissible exposure limit of 100 micrograms. For metal and nonmetal mines where the operator has not timely abated hazards, MSHA will issue a 104(b) withdrawal order until the silica overexposure hazard has been abated. For coal mines, MSHA will encourage changes to dust control and ventilation plans to address known health hazards.
  • Expanded silica sampling at metal and nonmetal mines to ensure inspectors’ samples represent the mines, commodities, and occupations known to have the highest risk for overexposure.
  • A focus on sampling during periods of the mining process that present the highest risk of silica exposure for miners. For coal mines, those processes include shaft and slope sinking, extended cuts and developing crosscuts, while metal and nonmetal sampling will focus on miners working to remove overburden.
  • Reminding miners about their rights to report hazardous health conditions, including any attempt to tamper with the sampling process.

In addition, Educational Field and Small Mine Services staff will provide compliance assistance and outreach to mine operators, unions and other mining community organizations to promote and advance protections for miners.

The recently launched MSHA initiative is intended to take immediate action to reduce the risks of silica dust exposure as the department’s development of a mining industry standard continues.

Silica Enforcement Initiative 


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 offering more than $10.5M in safety grants

First published by MSHA

Grants support underserved mines, miners

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the availability of more than $10.5 million in fiscal year 2022 state grant funding to provide federally mandated training and retraining of miners and mine operators working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines.

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

The closing date for applications is July 25, 2022. MSHA will award grants on or before Sept. 30, 2022.

MSHA recognizes that state training programs are a key source of mine safety and health training and education for individuals who work or will work at mines. MSHA encourages state training programs to prioritize training for small mining operations and underserved mines and miners within the mining industry. The agency also emphasizes training on miners’ statutory rights provided in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended.


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.

Fraterville Mine Disaster

First published by MSHA

MSHA remembers Fraterville Mine Disaster
Photo property of MSHA

On May 19, 1902 the worst mine disaster in Tennessee history happened at the Fraterville mine. Early in the morning, a coal dust explosion sent debris and toxic methane gas belching from the air flow shaft and out of the mouth of the mine. Of 216 men and young boys working in the mine that day, 190 were killed instantly. In an attempt to close out the deadly gas, the remaining 26 barricaded themselves into a deeper mine passage. Sadly, the men passed away of asphyxiation hours later. Before their tragic passing, they composed notes to their loved ones on the passage walls.

The small town of Fraterville was devastated by the loss and still recall that tragic day 120 years later. To commemorate this event, the Coal Creek Community erected an exhibit that can be seen at the Lenoir Museum located in Norris Dam State Park in Tennessee.

Today we remember and honor the miners who lost their lives at the Fraterville mine, and we remain committed to our mission to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and promote safe and healthy workplaces for the industry’s greatest resource – miners.


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.

Federal appeals court unanimously rules Kentucky mine operator illegally gave advance notice of inspection to miners underground

First published by MSHA

 

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has ruled unanimously that the operator of a Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, coal mine violated the federal Mine Safety and Health Act more than a decade ago by giving underground miners advance notice that mine inspectors were conducting an inspection.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on May 11, 2022, is the latest action in long-standing litigation involving an incident on April 20, 2012, at the Paradise No. 9 mine, operated by KenAmerican Resources Inc.

During a statutorily required inspection, U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors were monitoring a phone used to contact miners underground when, as they prepared to descend, they overheard someone down in the mine ask the dispatcher on the surface level if they “have company outside,” to which the dispatcher responded affirmatively.

MSHA inspectors then issued a citation to KenAmerican Resources Inc. for providing advance notice of an inspection. Federal law prohibits mine operators from such notice.

The mine operator appealed the citation, arguing the law against giving advance notice of an inspection does not apply to mine operators. They also argued that they had only provided advance notice that MSHA was “at the mine,” and had not provided advance notice of an inspection. The operator also argued the citation violated their free-speech rights.

“The 6th Circuit has reaffirmed that KenAmerican Resources Inc.’s actions violated federal law,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “Mine workers are safer when federal inspectors can see mine conditions as they exist on a day-to-day basis, not when conditions have been altered to avoid violations.”

In its decision, the court rejected all arguments made to challenge the citation and held that the law plainly prohibits operators from providing advance notice. The court also found the case’s facts clearly show the mine’s operator provided advance notice that MSHA inspectors were conducting an inspection.

“Our statutorily mandated inspections are at the heart of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s enforcement program. This decision affirms MSHA’s ability to conduct inspections without interference from mine operators as Congress intended,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Christopher J. Williamson.


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 Videos Focus on Attentiveness, Safety Training

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

mshagov.jpg

Photo: US Department of Labor

Arlington, VA — New videos from the Mine Safety and Health Administration highlight the importance of remaining attentive to job tasks and completing proper safety training.

MSHA recorded 37 miner deaths in 2021 after six straight years in which fewer than 30 miners died on the job. The agency, on social media and via its recently launched Take Time, Save Lives campaign, has expressed concern over “an increase in fatalities and injuries.”

As of May 10, MSHA has reported 12 miner deaths this year, including three each related to powered haulage and machinery.

“Mining fatalities, accidents and injuries are preventable,” MSHA says in one of the videos. “Taking a minute to approach your task safely can protect you and your fellow miners from injury and death. Staying alert and focused can keep you safe. Do it safe, do it right. Whether buckling a seat belt or securing equipment, these quick safety measures can prevent injuries and fatalities.”

In a second video, the agency calls on employers and mine operators to provide relevant training to workers.

“Effective training is key to accident prevention,” the video says. “Always ensure miners are trained on safe work procedures in a language they understand. Develop step-by-step procedures and review them with all miners before they perform non-routine maintenance tasks.”

The videos remind industry stakeholders of additional resources offered by the agency – including videos, training guides and handbooks – and encourage them to visit MSHA’s website for more information.


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 #6

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On January 28, 2022, while driving downhill, the 56 year-old driver of a concrete mixer truck was fatally injured after he lost control of the truck.  The truck overturned and the driver was ejected from the truck.  Another miner, who was in the truck, was also ejected and suffered serious injuries.

Accident scene while driving downhill, the 56 year-old driver of a concrete mixer truck was fatally injured after he lost control of the truck.
Photo: MSHA
Best Practices: 
  • Each shift, inspect mobile equipment before placing it into operation.  Correct defects that pose a hazard to miners.  Tag out mobile equipment that can’t be corrected.
  • Assure brakes can stop and hold mobile equipment with its typical load on the maximum grade it travels.
  • Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
  • Maintain control of mobile equipment and drive at safe speeds.
Additional Information:

This is the sixth fatality reported in 2022, and the second 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 #7

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On February 14, 2022, a 34 year-old maintenance technician died while driving a lube truck underground.  The truck over traveled the edge of a stope and fell approximately 60 feet into the stope drift.

Accident scene where a 34 year-old maintenance technician died while driving a lube truck underground.
Photo: MSHA
Best Practices:
  • Provide berms, bumper blocks, safety hooks, or similar impeding devices at dumping locations where there is a hazard of over travel.
  • Examine working places before work begins for conditions that may adversely affect safety and health
Additional Information:

This is the seventh fatality reported in 2022, and the third 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.