Federal agencies Fall prevention Mining, oil and gas

Deaths due to roof falls in mines down 30% since 2007, MSHA says

Arlington, VA – Mining deaths from underground roof falls have dropped more than 30 percent since 2007, the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Aug. 5.

Falls of a mine’s roof and ribs killed 28 workers from 2003 to 2007, but only 19 such deaths occurred from 2008 to 2012, MSHA said. The agency also stated that retreat mining fatalities have been “virtually eliminated,” with zero occurring from 2000 to 2012, compared with seven in the previous five-year period.

However, nonfatal injuries in roof and rib falls continue to occur, with MSHA recording 377 in 2012. To help prevent incidents, the agency said its annual Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program will focus on roof-bolter operator safety because 165 of last year’s roof and rib fall injuries involved roof-bolter operators.