After 5 fatalities so far this year, MSHA focuses on hazards of working alone

Talks emphasize accounting for all workers at all times

Posted May 8, 2017

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) launched an initiative to focus on the hazards miners may encounter when they work alone. The initiative is in response to five mining deaths that have occurred already in 2017 to miners working in areas away from others.

The MSHA campaign calls upon Agency inspectors and training specialists to engage miners and mine operators in “walk and talks” during regular inspection visits. Inspectors will emphasize accounting for all workers at all times and providing operators with best practices for miners working alone.

MSHA says mine operators should know if a particular task can be safely completed by a miner working alone, and always follow established communication practices.

Among the best practices MSHA lists are:

  • Think about the task: Does the miner have adequate training, knowledge, skills and equipment to do the job safely? Does the miner need help to complete the job?
  • Always inform a responsible person where the miner will be working and traveling in the mine.
  • Before beginning any task, identify the hazards.
  • Don’t take shortcuts.
  • Use customary check-in/check-out procedures.

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