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MSHA intensifies enforcement efforts after 3 miner deaths in 1 day

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Photo: RYERSONCLARK/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is ramping up enforcement after three miners died in separate incidents on the same day.

Beginning the week of Aug. 9, the agency will conduct stricter inspections that focus on violations typically associated with fatalities. Federal inspectors also will share information about best practices to prevent deaths during “walk and talks” with mine operators and miners, MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main announced in an Aug. 5 letter to stakeholders.

Three miners were killed at metal and non-metal mines on Aug. 3, the first time since 2002 that so many died in the sector in one day. “We cannot – we will not – accept this turn of events,” Main said in a press release.

MSHA shared the following details about the incidents:

  • A stockpile failure engulfed a loader operator who was outside his vehicle at a North Dakota construction sand and gravel mine.
  • Mobile equipment struck and killed a miner at a Nevada underground gold ore operation.
  • A silo collapsed at a Virginia quarry, and an 18-year-old plant operator was buried under sand and stone dust.

MSHA is investigating the incidents. Five fatalities have occurred in the industry within the last month, bringing the 2015 total to 15. Last year, 29 deaths occurred.