Federal agencies Injury prevention Coal Mining_Oil_Gas

MSHA kicks off campaign to raise awareness of roof, rib falls

coal mine
Photo: meliusphotography/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched its annual campaign intended to promote roof and rib fall hazard awareness among coal miners and mine operators, while also focusing on continuous mining machine operator safety.

Despite an overall decline in incidents involving roof falls, rib falls or coal bursts, which the agency attributes to improved roof control technology, these occurrences remain a leading cause of injuries, MSHA states in a July 6 press release. According to the agency, roof and rib falls or coal bursts have contributed to five continuous mining machine operator fatalities and 83 injuries since 2013.

The Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program campaign will distribute informational MSHA posters during regular inspections and miner discussions. MSHA inspectors have placed special emphasis on roof fall incident prevention. Best practices include:

  • Monitoring rib deterioration that may occur after mining.
  • Installing rib bolts to protect against rib falls.
  • Following established roof control plans to address potentially adverse conditions.
  • Using straps, pizza pans or screen wire mesh when encountering areas of loose roof or rib.
  • Thoroughly examining mines and monitoring changing rib/roof conditions.
  • Confirming pillar dimensions and mining methods are appropriate for the conditions and that roof/rib control methods are suitable for the depth of cover.

The campaign is scheduled to run through September.

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