The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is increasing its enforcement efforts this week after the deaths of three miners last week.
The death of three miners on August 3 has prompted the agency to start inspections on August 10 that will focus on violations associated with mining deaths. The MSHA will also include “walk and talks” with mine operators and employees to educate them on how to prevent mining accidents and deaths.
The inspections and enforcement actions come after a month where five people died in the mining industry and three died on the same day. The August 3 fatalities included: a loader operator was engulfed by a stockpile failure in North Dakota; a miner at an underground gold ore operation in Nevada was killed when struck by mobile equipment; and a plant operator was buried under tons of sand and stone dust when a silo collapsed at a quarry in Virginia. The MSHA is investigating the causes of each of these fatalities.
There have been 15 deaths this year at metal and non-metal mines this year after 29 in 2014.
Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for the MSHA, issued a statement regarding the deaths that read: “Recent fatalities and accidents suggest that miners would benefit from rigorous workplace examinations conducted by experienced and trained examiners. On July 22, 2015, MSHA published a Program Policy Letter (PV-IV-01) clarifying that workplace examinations include the requirement that mine operators shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which adversely affect safety or health, that the examination must be conducted by a competent person, and that a record of the examination must be maintained and made available for review.
On May 21, 2015, I sent a letter to the mining community on the importance of safety and health programs to protect miners from injury, illness and death. Sound safety and health programs need to be in place to protect miners from the type of accidents leading to these deaths.”
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