Mining, oil and gas

MSHA vows to increase safety efforts at metal/non-metal mines

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is ramping up efforts to improve safety at metal and non-metal mines after an “unacceptable” increase in deaths, MSHA chief Joseph A. Main wrote in a Jan. 30 letter to mining stakeholders.

Since October 2013, 37 deaths have occurred in metal and non-metal mines (including four since Jan. 1), after several years of record lows. A breakdown of the numbers shows that, since October 2013, nine supervisors, 11 miners/laborers and seven truck drivers were killed. From 2011 to 2013, an average of three supervisors, two miners/laborers and two truck drivers died.

“Deficiencies” in safety led to many of the deaths, Main wrote. MSHA intends to address the issue through education, outreach and enforcement, and will look for support throughout the industry.

Agency inspectors and other staff will discuss with miners and mine operators the importance of meeting safety standards, conducting training and implementing safety protections, according to the letter.