Coal Guidance Injury prevention

MSHA summer safety campaign focuses on roof, rib falls

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has released materials for its annual campaign to address roof and rib (wall) falls in underground coal mines.

Summer poses dangers to coal miners because humidity can weaken mine roofs, according to MSHA’s Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program. In 2013, MSHA said, almost half of all roof and rib fall incidents took place in June through September.

As part of the 2014 campaign, MSHA is focusing on summer-related hazards such as the effect of air and humidity on clay veins and other moisture-sensitive materials in rock formations in the mine roof. The agency has produced several safety documents, including a summer alert and a points-to-remember bulletin, that contain tips for miners.

In 2013, 265 miners overall were injured in roof and rib falls, which was down from 377 miners injured in 2012.

“Even though there was a welcome reduction in the overall number of roof control injuries, too many coal miners are still being hurt on the job in these kinds of accidents,” MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main said in a July 2 press release.