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MSHA training initiative aimed at less-experienced miners

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Arlington, VA – A recent rise in fatalities and injuries among less-experienced coal miners has prompted the Mine Safety and Health Administration to launch a training assistance initiative.

As part of the initiative, representatives from MSHA’s division of Coal Mine Safety and Health will visit coal mines with training specialists from the agency’s Educational Field and Small Mine Services. Their objectives include:

  • Ensuring training plans posted at mines are up to date.
  • Consulting and observing the work practices of less-experienced miners, including those with one year or less of experience at the mine and one year or less of job experience.
  • Identifying deficiencies in training and offering suggestions for improvement.

Workers with less than one year of experience at a mine suffered 903 injuries between October 2015 and March 2017, compared with 418 among miners who had between one and two years of experience, according to data from MSHA. Likewise, miners with less than one year of job experience suffered 603 injuries in the same time span, while those with one to two years of experience incurred 409 injuries.

In addition, seven of the eight coal mining fatalities recorded in the first five-plus months of 2017 involved workers with less than one year of experience at a mine, MSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Patricia Silvey said in a June 19 press release. Six fatalities involved workers with one year or less of experience on the job.

The initiative is scheduled to run through September.

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