MSHA Reaches out to Help Miners

An intensive effort is underway at MSHA to reach coal miners, gold miners, quarry workers and other mining industry employees nationwide to provide information on mining hazards and ways to prevent accidents on the job.

An intensive effort is underway at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to reach coal miners, gold miners, quarry workers and other mining industry employees nationwide to provide information on mining hazards and ways to prevent accidents on the job.

MSHA's "Focus on Safe Work" initiative finds hundreds of MSHA inspection personnel, engineers, and training specialists traveling to all coal and metal and nonmetal mining operations to speak with workers and supervisors about fatalities that have occurred this year. MSHA personnel are distributing materials on safe mining, which may also be accessed through MSHA's homepage at http://www.msha.govwww.msha.gov under "Focus on Safe Work."

"We've visited nearly 7,000 mine sites and spoken with nearly 70,000 miners since Feb. 4," says Dave Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Last year, fatalities dropped after the agency conducted a similar effort, 'Stand Down for Safety,' and we are hopeful that this reminder will help keep this year's increase from becoming a trend. We want every working miner to go home to his family safe and injury-free every day."

During visits to mine sites, MSHA personnel discuss the fatal accidents that have occurred this year and share "best practices" to help reduce such serious accidents at work sites. MSHA is focusing discussions on three primary causes of mining accidents: roof falls, electrocutions (due to failure to "lockout/tagout") and powered haulage. MSHA personnel are also customizing talks with miners to reflect on hazards typically encountered at their mine site.

So far this year, 17 mining fatalities have occurred in the United States, compared with seven fatalities at the same time during 2001 and 11 fatal accidents during the same period in 2000. A record low 72 miners were victims of fatal accidents on the job last year at U.S. mining operations.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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