The Mining Safety & Heath Administration, reported 2016 as the lowest number of deaths ever recorded at our nation’s mines. Twenty-five miners lost their lives in work related accidents. This number is down from the 29 work related deaths recorded in 2015.
Nine of the 25 fatalities occurred in coal mines; four in West Virginia, two in Kentucky, and one each in Alabama, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The leading causes of death were powered haulage and machinery, which accounted for six of the deaths.
A total of 16 deaths were reported in metal and nonmetal mines in 2016. Mississippi and Texas led with two, followed by one each in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. The leading cause of death in these mines was machinery accidents, at four, followed by powered haulage, at three. All deaths occurred at surface mines.
Of the 16 deaths at MNM mines:
- · 12 were employees
- · 4 were contractors
- 5 – Sand & Gravel (31%)
- 5 – Limestone (31%)
- 6 total – 1 each from Titanium, Copper, Sand, Granite, Cement, Magnesite (38%)
- 4 – Truck Driver (25%)
- 4 – Supervisor (25%)
- 4 – Heavy Equipment Operator (25%)
- 2 – Mechanics (13%)
- 1 – Miner (6%)
- 1 – Drill Operator (6%)
Root Causes—Failure to:
- Provide Task Training
- Conduct Examinations
- Conduct Risk Assessments
- Conduct Pre-operations checks
- Maintain Equipment
- Provide Policies, Procedures, Controls
- Provide Personal Protective Equipment
When reporting calendar year end statistic Joe Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health stated, “While we have reached a new era in mine safety, these deaths show that more needs to be done to protect our nation’s miners. MSHA has encouraged mine operators to put effective safety and health programs in place that address the specific conditions and hazards.”
For many of us the first quarter of the year is the season for annual refresher and other types safety reviews/training. If you find yourself in training, challenge yourself to find new ways to apply the information (some of which you may have heard before). Leave the class with at least one or two commitments for how you will help continue the trend of decreasing fatalities and then live those commitments throughout the new year.
Data as reported by US Department of Labor; for full details can be found at www.msha.gov
Note—MSHA reported a recent update that there were actually 26 fatalities in 2016. One MNM fatality, which was previously unreported, was omitted from the initial data.
When evaluating the effectiveness of your safety programs and systems, independent, unbiased feedback can be invaluable. Our knowledgeable experienced safety professionals can help.