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Deaths of 3 coal miners in 2016 prompt MSHA alert

Hanging helmets

Photo: Madzia71/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA – Three coal mining deaths occurred during the first three weeks of 2016, the highest number to occur in that time period since January 2006, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

In a press release, MSHA administrator Joseph A. Main called the number of incidents “troubling.” The agency released a safety alert describing the incidents and offering guidance intended to prevent similar events:

  • On Jan. 4, a 53-year-old miner in West Virginia died when he became trapped in a moving underground conveyor.
  • On Jan. 16, a 31-year-old miner in Pennsylvania was killed when falling material trapped him.
  • On Jan. 19, a 36-year-old miner in Kentucky died when he was caught between a coal rib and a continuous mining machine.

In 2015, 28 miners died – the lowest total on record. “In light of declining coal market conditions, we all need to be mindful that effective safety and health protections that safeguard our nation’s coal miners need to be in place every day at every mine in the country,” Main said in the release. “All miners deserve to work their shifts and return home at the end of the day, safe and healthy. To that end, the Mine Safety and Health Administration plans to ramp up its targeted enforcement, education and outreach efforts to respond to the troubling number of mining fatalities that have occurred so far this year.”

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