Since the earliest days of mining, the occupation of digging minerals out of the earth has been considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Mine safety and health legislation and advances in technology and training have reduced mining deaths and injuries from earlier high levels, however, the journey to safety is still a long one. According to The Hill, deaths in the coal mining industry sky rocketed to their highest point in three years in 2017; in 2016 there were 8 deaths in the industry, which was the fewest deaths since records began.
On September 19, 2018, two miners were injured when a building partially collapsed during construction. One of the miners had to be transported to the hospital for treatment, but luckily, the accident didn’t result in any fatalities.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration offers a variety of materials to assist trainers and mine operators in promoting a safe and healthy environment at US mines. MSHA provides the following Best Practices to help prevent these types of accidents from happening:
- Construction should sequence in a systematic manner according to the design drawings.
- Ensure a competent person conducts structural inspections periodically to identify hazards.
- Temporary bracing should be provided at all times during construction to resist wind, earthquake, and other construction loads.
- Routinely examine metal structures for indications of structural deficiencies (corrosion, fatigue cracks, bent/buckling structural members, loose/missing connectors, broken welds, etc.)
- Reports structural damage to the engineer overseeing the construction project.
- Any modifications to column base plates and anchors should be approved by the engineer of record.
- Train all persons to recognize and understand safe job procedures before beginning work. Be alert for hazards created while the work is performed.
- Wear fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
- Remove personnel from the structure when there are high wind speeds or gusts.
For more information and best practices for site safety, visit the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s website.