Search form

Safety Milestones Set in Mining Sector in 2015

  • February 18, 2016

The Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) sector of the U.S. mining industry achieved two first-ever milestones last year, not only by working without a fatality for 133 consecutive days — about 4.5 months — but also by doing so during October, a month which had never before been fatality-free in the M/NM sector.

The good news, presented at an M/NM stakeholders’ meeting in January, was delivered by Mine Safety and Health Administration lead Joe Main. Main noted that the multi-month accomplishment in 2015 ran from August 4 through December 14. The previous fatality-free period was 82 days that ended on January 9, 2010, he said.

The M/NM sector experienced 17 fatalities during 2015, down from 29 deaths the previous year, ending a 23-month upswing in mining deaths that began in October 2013. From October 2013 until last August 3, 52 M/NM workers died on the job, an average of more than two per month. Contract workers made up about 30% of these fatalities. Losses were highest among miners/laborers (30%), truck drivers (26%), and supervisors (20%).

MSHA launched fatality prevention initiatives in June 2014, February 2015, and August 2015. Each initiative involved stepped-up enforcement, education, and outreach. Education and outreach were accomplished using enforcement officers, who discussed recent fatalities and best safety practices with miners in “walk-and-talk” sessions during inspection visits. In addition, personnel from MSHA’s Educational Field and Small Mine Services unit visited thousands of M/NM mines to pass out safety information and provide compliance assistance.

Enforcement personnel helped with inspections focused on what MSHA believed contributed to the fatalities, such as inadequate task training or shortcomings in workplace examinations. The agency expanded its M/NM inspectorate to conduct more inspections by reassigning officers from its coal inspectorate.

MSHA’s August fatality prevention initiative was especially noteworthy. The agency made a vigorous appeal for assistance from key stakeholders, such as unions and mining trade associations.

MSHA has said it would “continue what works” in 2016 and urged stakeholders to work together on fatality prevention. The agency also called on others to sign up as supporters of MSHA’s safety initiatives.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

November 16, 2017

Transportation Department Expands Drug Testing Panel to Include Certain ‘Semi-Synthetic’ Opioids

November 16, 2017

Employers regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) should revise their drug and alcohol testing policies to conform to new DOT regulations that added four “semi-synthetic” opioid drugs to the DOT drug testing panel. The new regulations go into effect on January 1, 2018. DOT announced in a rule published in the Federal... Read More

November 10, 2017

The Speak Out Evolution from Ms. Magazine to #MeToo: The Time Is Now for Employers to Re-Examine Their Practices

November 10, 2017

In a November 5, 2017 article, The New York Times harkened back to the 1977 Ms. magazine cover depicting sexual harassment on its cover. The point was to illustrate the fact that the 1977 Ms. cover is just as relevant today as it was then. In 1986, more than 20 years after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. ... Read More

October 30, 2017

Chicago Adopts ‘Hands Off Pants On’ Law to Protect Hotel Workers from Sexual Harassment, Assault

October 30, 2017

To provide hospitality workers greater protections against sexual harassment and assault, the Chicago City Council passed the “Hands Off Pants On” Ordinance on October 11, 2017. The Ordinance requires all hotels in the City to adopt a panic button system and an anti-sexual harassment policy. The Ordinance was passed after months of... Read More