MSHA launches initiative to protect less experienced miners

Agency alarmed at increased fatalities among workers on the job for less than a year

Posted June 23, 2017

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) launched a new initiative to address increased injuries and fatalities among less experienced coal miners. MSHA says data compiled between October 2015 and March 2017 show miners with one year or less of experience at a mine suffered 903 injuries, compared to 418 for those who had worked at a mine for one to two years. Further, of the eight coal mining fatalities so far in 2017, seven involved miners with one year or less experience at the mine.

MSHA’s new Training Assistance Initiative focuses on the causes and trends of the recent coal fatalities and injuries. On June 12, 2017, the Agency began informing mine operators of the initiative, and encouraged them to participate and provide information about recent hires. With this information, MSHA says it can concentrate its resources on the greatest fatality and injury risks.

The initiative is scheduled to run until September 30, 2017. Until that time, MSHA training specialists will visit coal mines to:

  • Review the approved training plan posted at the mine to ensure that all information is up to date and the most recently approved plan is posted.
  • Talk to and observe work practices of miners with one year or less experience at the mine to evaluate the effectiveness of the mine operator’s new miner and experienced miner training program.
  • Talk to and observe work practices of miners with one year or less experience performing their current job to evaluate the effectiveness of the mine operator’s task training program.
  • Identify deficiencies and offer suggestions in training.
  • Work with mine operators to improve their training programs.

MSHA personnel may ask operators to allow miners with more experience at the mine to accompany agency personnel during interactions with miners who have less experience.


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