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MSHA releases final data for 2012; Numbers indicate lowest mining death and injury rates

July 12, 2013 Comments off

MSHA releases final data for 2012; Numbers indicate lowest mining death and injury rates
Source: Mine Safety and Health Administration (U.S. Department of Labor)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the release of final data for 2012 that indicate the lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of U.S. mining, along with the lowest rate of contractor fatalities since the agency began calculating those rates in 1983.

Thirty-six miners died on the job in 2012. The 2012 total includes the Dec. 28 death of a coal miner at Choctaw Mine in Walker County, Ala., that was recently deemed chargeable to the mining industry. Five contractors died in mining accidents in 2012, compared to 11 in 2011, nearly half the lowest number ever recorded.

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Mine Safety — MSHA to publish pattern of violations final rule

January 18, 2013 Comments off

MSHA to publish pattern of violations final rule

Source: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced a final rule to strengthen safety in the nation’s most dangerous mines. The rule, which revises the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s pattern of violations regulation in 30 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104, has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication. It will ensure that mine operators monitor and address the most hazardous safety problems in their mines. It also strengthens MSHA’s hand to respond to dangerous mining conditions, and improve safety and health for mining’s most important resource — the miner.

"The tragedy at the Upper Big Branch Mine should not be forgotten. It exacted a terrible toll on the nation, coal miners’ families and coal companies. Over the last three years, the Labor Department has undergone a serious and comprehensive evaluation of mine safety practices, and that has led to reforms to protect America’s miners. The rule we are announcing today will hold mine operators accountable when they disregard life-saving safety measures," Secretary Solis said.

"This final rule represents one of MSHA’s highest priority regulatory initiatives and one that addresses Congress’ intent that this regulation encourage chronic violators to comply with the Mine Act and MSHA’s health and safety standards," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We think that this final rule will help prevent another tragedy such as occurred at the Upper Big Branch Mine. It promotes consistency in applying the POV notice as an enforcement tool, provides for a more open and transparent process, emphasizes operators’ responsibility to comply with safety and health standards and monitor their own compliance, and more effectively achieves the statutory intent of the Mine Act."

Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, MSHA is required to issue a POV notice to any mine operator that demonstrates a disregard for the health and safety of miners through a pattern of significant and substantial violations. An S&S violation is one that contributes to a safety or health hazard that is reasonably likely to result in a reasonably serious injury or illness.

The POV final rule, which is also responsive to several recommendations made by the Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General in a September 2010 report, strengthens MSHA’s ability to deal with the nation’s most dangerous, troubling mines and mine operators. It places the agency in a better position to identify operators that demonstrate a disregard for the health and safety of miners and have not responded to other enforcement measures.

MSHA releases preliminary fatality data for 2011

January 11, 2012 Comments off

MSHA releases preliminary fatality data for 2011
Source: Mine Safety and Health Administration (USDoL)

Preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration released today reveal that 37 miners died in work-related accidents at the nation’s mines in 2011. There were 21 coal mining and 16 metal/nonmetal mining fatalities last year, compared with 48 and 23, respectively, in 2010, making 2011 the year with the second-lowest number of mining deaths since statistics were first recorded in 1910.

Of the 37 fatalities reported, 12 occurred at surface coal mines, 11 at surface metal/nonmetal mines, nine at underground coal mines and five at underground metal/nonmetal mines. Nine workers died in accidents involving machinery — six in coal mines and three in metal/nonmetal mines — making it the leading cause of fatal mining accidents.

Kentucky had the most mining deaths — eight — in 2011, followed by West Virginia with six and Ohio with three. All but one of those deaths occurred in coal mines. Several of the larger coal-producing states, including Alabama, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Utah, experienced zero mine fatalities last year.

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