The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) held its quarterly stakeholder call on May 2, 2019. MSHA began the discussion by reviewing the five fatalities that occurred in the first quarter of 2019. The agency then discussed best practices to prevent injuries in the event of a mobile equipment fire and reviewed upcoming training opportunities. The agency concluded the webinar by demonstrating its new mine data retrieval system.

Fire Safety Around Mobile Equipment

Because two end loaders caught fire in the first quarter of 2019, MSHA announced fire safety best practices. Fortunately, neither event resulted in injuries, but both highlighted important steps mines can take to prevent an equipment fire at their operation. These actions include the following:

  • Regular preventative maintenance
  • Preoperational exams before each use of the equipment
  • Installation and maintenance of properly-designed fire suppression systems
  • Identification of multiple escape routes away from known fire hazards
  • Adequate training of equipment operators

Training Opportunities

As temperatures increase and seasonal mining operations reopen, the number of mining accidents generally increase. The metal and nonmetal industry is in the process of hosting its annual Spring Thaw training workshops across the country to increase awareness of mining hazards and improve mine safety and health. Below are this year’s final two training sessions:

  • May 9, 2019: Midlothian Conference Center in Midlothian, Texas
  • May 10, 2019: Embassy Suites Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona

Additional information is available on MSHA’s website.

Powered Haulage Training

MSHA is continuing its powered haulage safety initiative and outreach. Educational Field and Small Mine Services (EFSMS) is visiting mine sites to review conveyor safety, safety around large equipment, and seat belt usage. There are related training videos on MSHA’s website that operators can review with miners.

Additionally, the agency is making $400,000 in grant funds available to states, territories, and private or public nonprofit entities for education and training on powered haulage safety through its Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants program. The opportunity to submit an application for funding closes on June 9, 2019. Interested parties can view the grant opportunity at grants.gov (keyword: MSHA).

Update on MSHA’s “New and Improved” Mine Data Retrieval System

During the final segments of the stakeholder call, MSHA encouraged attendees to test the new mine data retrieval system (MDRS) on its website. The MDRS has been in beta testing since August 2018. The original MDRS will still be available during the beta testing. In response to user feedback, MSHA streamlined the website and simplified searches to make the system more intuitive. The agency is encouraging users to continue to provide feedback as necessary and to report any additional information that should be added to the site. In addition to the search features of the existing system, the new MDRS now allows users to review the enforcement history for multiple mine IDs and download data sets for information about mine inspections, accidents, injuries, illnesses, violations, employment, production totals, and air sampling. The availability of information such as injury rates may be delayed 30–60 days, but the system will allow operators to pull information from its website quickly and export it into Excel for easy review and analysis.