Last year, the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) focus was largely on responding strategically to spikes in particular causes of mining accidents.
That’s according to Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health David Zatezalo, who reviews the agency’s 2019 activity in a post on the U.S. Department of Labor blog.
Fifty-one years ago today, a massive explosion killed 78 coal miners in West Virginia and led to significant changes in mining safety through the passage of the 1969 Coal Mine Safety and Health Act.
On Sunday, family members of the workers who perished in the Farmington Mine disaster and coal miners and their families gathered in Marion County for a solemn ceremony that has taken place every year for more than a half a century.
Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Each year, about 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. More than 30 million are exposed to chemicals, some of which are harmful to the ear (ototoxic) and hazardous to hearing. In addition to damaging workers’ quality of life, occupational hearing loss carries a high economic price to society.
For the fifth consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV), according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The screening period started on September 1, 2018, and ended on August 31, 2019.
The NSC issues guidance for employers and cannabis use among workers; the NYPD tries a new strategy to combat police depressions and the AIHA partners with international organizations to help clear the (indoor) air. These were among the stop stories featured on ISHN.com this week.
A bill that would safeguard the miners’ health care benefits that are threatened by coal company bankruptcies has taken a step forward in Congress. The House Natural Resources Committee yesterday passed HR 934, the Health Benefits for Miners Act - clearing the way for the bills to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. Also approved by unanimous voice vote: HR 935, the Miners Pension Protection Act.
A fatality earlier this month involving a hydraulic breaker represents a sharp uptick in U.S. mining industry deaths caused by machine accidents, according to the Mine Safety and Health Admininstration (MSHA).
The 32-year-old general manager/owner and the excavator operator were in the process of positioning the excavator for a motor exchange when the hydraulic breaker attachment fell off the excavator and hit the victim.
“Until MSHA sets and strictly enforces an evidence-based, silica-specific dust standard, along with improved procedures for measuring and monitoring silica, the agency will not be fulfilling its mission to ‘prevent death, illness and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners."
An alarming increase in the incidence of the black lung disease among the nation’s coal miners has led to a call by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the United Steelworkers International Union (USW) for a new standard to protect miners from the silica dust that causes the disease.
In a letter to David Zatezalo, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), UMWA President Cecil Roberts and USW President Leo W. Gerard noted that changes in mining practices have led to increased exposure to silica for miners.
A recent study of 1,334 workers from 20 mine sites found that miners who avoid risk were less likely to experience near-miss incidents, according to a paper published in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries.