GRAPEVINE, Texas – Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. Main announced the agency’s plan to curb mining deaths in one of the year’s deadliest months. The announcement came at the 34th Annual South Central Joint Mine Health & Safety Conference in Grapevine.
“Think, Plan Train… Before You Begin Work!” is a safety alert initiative launched today by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and aimed directly at the metal and nonmetal mining industry.
Since 2000, 50 miners in the metal and nonmetal mining industry have died in workplace accidents in the month of April, which signals the beginning of the spring season and the startup of many mines idled during the winter months.
“Oftentimes, mines resume operations with newly hired or newly assigned employees,” said Main. “Some miners may be entirely new to the mining environment, and others may simply be performing unfamiliar tasks.”
The April safety initiative is part of MSHA’s overall fatality reduction plan, which includes targeted safety alerts that mine inspectors share with miners, training representatives, mine operators and industry stakeholders.
In August 2015, MSHA launched aggressive enforcement and outreach actions in response to the events of Aug. 3, 2015 – a particularly deadly day in mining – when three miners died in separate accidents at mines in Nevada, North Dakota and Virginia. With the staunch support of the mining industry, the campaign reduced fatalities to an all-time low of three in the seven months that followed.
“These kinds of actions demonstrate that mining deaths can be prevented,” said Main. “Our ‘Think, Plan Train… Before You Begin Work!’ alert will help make sure we all stay laser focused on preventing the deadly consequences that April has historically brought.”