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Roof and Rib Fall Hazards Remain Top Causes of Mining Injuries

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched a program to generate awareness of roof and rib fall hazards.

A new outreach program focuses on reducing the number of mining deaths because of roof and rib falls or coal bursts.

Despite advancements in roof control technology for underground coal mines, roof and rib falls or coal bursts continue to top the lists of mining injuries, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

As a response, the annual Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program (PROP), which runs through September, will educate mine workers and operators during agency inspections.

MSHA has identified the following best practices that inspectors will provide via posters and discussions:

  • Closely monitoring coal rib deterioration which may occur after mining
  • Installing rib bolts, which provide the best protection against rib falls
  • Following approved roof control plans to address adverse conditions that may be present
  • Using straps, pizza pans or screen wire mesh where loose roof/ribs may be encountered
  • Conducting thorough examinations and watch for changing roof/rib conditions
  • Ensuring that pillar dimensions and mining methods are suitable for the conditions and roof/rib.

Since 2013, roof and rib falls or coal bursts led to the deaths of five continuous mining machine operators, and injured 83 other operators, according to the agency.

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