Mine agency launches campaign to prevent roof, rib falls in underground mines

Annual program to increase awareness of deadly mining hazards

Posted July 11, 2017

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says that despite improvements in roof control technology in underground coal mines, roof and rib falls or coal bursts led to the deaths of five continuous mining machine operators and injured 83 other operators since 2013.

To address these hazards, MSHA recently launched its annual Preventative Roof/Rib Outreach Program (PROP) to increase awareness among coal miners and operators.

PROP, which will run through September, focuses on continuous mining machine operator safety. MSHA will distribute informational posters to underground coal mines during regular inspections and hold safety discussions with groups of working miners.

MSHA inspectors will specifically address best practices for preventing roof fall accidents, which include the following:

  • Closely monitor coal rib deterioration which may occur after mining.
  • Install rib bolts, which provide the best protection against rib falls.
  • Follow the approved roof control plan to address adverse conditions that may be present.
  • Use straps, pizza pans or screen wire mesh where loose roof/ribs may be encountered.
  • Conduct thorough examinations and watch for changing roof/rib conditions.
  • Ensure that pillar dimensions and mining methods are suitable for the conditions and roof/rib control methods are adequate for the depth of cover.

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