Hanging helmets

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MSHA says FY 2016 the safest year in mining history

October 14, 2016

Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is calling fiscal year 2016 “the safest year in mining history” after a record-low 24 deaths occurred – a decrease of nearly 37 percent over the previous fiscal year’s total of 38 fatalities.

MSHA’s fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016.

“The extensive efforts by MSHA and the mining community that held metal and non-metal mining deaths to three during a 7-month period were instrumental in driving these numbers,” MSHA administrator Joseph Main said in an Oct. 11 press release.

However, Main warned against complacency, noting that four fatal incidents occurred in September. “Eliminating mining deaths and reducing injuries and illnesses is a goal that must be shared by all of us. We can – and must – strive to reach zero mining deaths,” he said.

MSHA credits the ongoing effort to lower levels of respirable coal mine dust with being a factor in the lower number of deaths. According to the agency, the results of 154,000 dust samples from fiscal year 2016 collected under the respirable coal dust rule that went into effect earlier showed historic lows, with 99.3 percent meeting compliance levels. In addition, all but 0.2 percent of the 40,000 valid samples collected with continuous personal dust monitors from April 1, 2014, through July 31 were compliant.