Mine safety improves

Mine safety has improved, but concerns remain, MSHA’s Main says. Chronic violators have declined and industry compliance has improved in the mining industry in the past five years, but a recent increase in fatalities at metal/non-metal mines is a concern, Mine Safety and Health Administration chief Joseph A. Main told audience members March 16 at the annual convention of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association.

In 2014, 42 miners died, including an all-time low of 16 at coal mines. Twenty-six deaths occurred at metal and non-metal mines – an increase from 22 in 2013. MSHA recently has intensified its enforcement and outreach efforts to improve safety at these types of mines.

Main shared the results of MSHA actions, including:

  • Citations and orders issued to metal and non-metal mine operators declined 20 percent to 58,953 in 2014 from 73,713 in 2010.
  • A 30 percent decrease occurred from 2010 to 2014 in “significant and substantial” violations among the top 200 metal and non-metal and coal mines ranked by number of S&S issuances.
  • MSHA lowered its backlog of contested citations and orders by nearly 70 percent from a high of about 89,000 at year-end 2010 to about 27,500 in 2014.
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