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Msha Issues Fatality Update


The Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a safety alert and fatality update on the mining deaths that have occurred so far this year

The Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a safety alert and fatality update on the mining deaths that have occurred so far this year.

"While headlines continue to focus on the disaster at Upper Big Branch Mine, we cannot lose sight of the fact that other miners are losing their lives at our nation's mines," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Since the beginning of this year, 28 other miners from all sectors of mining have died in fatal accidents. We must take action to prevent additional fatalities."

According to MSHA data on the most common causes of mining deaths in 2010: Eight were struck by moving or falling objects; seven died from roof falls and rib rolls; six were killed while working in close proximity to mining or haulage equipment; three died in explosions and fires; and one was caught inside rotating machinery. Eight of the dead miners were contractors, including one who fell to his death; and one who was killed when his truck went through a berm and over a highwall. One miner drowned in a dredge pond.

In a letter to the mining community, Main reminded mine operators that effective safety and health management programs save lives. "Workplace examinations for hazards--preshift and on-shift on every shift--can identify and eliminate hazards that kill miners. Effective and appropriate training will help ensure that miners know and understand these hazards and learn how to control or eliminate them.

"Fatalities are not an inevitable consequence of mining," Main said. "We must all work together to send miners home safe and healthy after every shift."