MSHA kicks off annual PROP project

SUMMERTIME has historically shown a higher rate of roof falls and rib rolls. Coinciding with this, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration has launched its annual outreach effort to reduce fatalities.

Donna Schmidt

The PROP project – Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program – was developed to spotlight the hazards associated with the occurrences.

“Over the last two years, 19 coal miners in the United States died from roof falls or rib rolls,” MSHA assistant secretary Richard Stickler said.

“We need to be sure that each miner and mine operator at every underground coal mine is informed about the specific hazards that lead to roof falls and how these tragic accidents can best be prevented.”

As part of the effort, inspectors will speak with operators and workers themselves about the hazards surrounding roof falls and rib rolls as well as control methods, mobile roof supports (MRSs) and retreat mining issues, it said.

It also compiled tips for the industry public for the prevention of accidents, which include:

Examining the work area for hazards carefully;

Taking down loose roof or ribs immediately;

Marking off unsafe areas that cannot be repaired immediately;

Installing extra roof support where needed;

Following the roof control plan;

Remaining alert for changing roof or rib conditions; and

Alerting mine management and other miners to unusual roof or rib conditions.

The agency said workers, no matter the circumstance, should never travel under unsupported roof.

MSHA will offer free public seminars on roof control, and is encouraging those who can to attend. The first of three gatherings was held this week at the MSHA Academy in Beaver, West Virginia, and the remaining two will be at Bevill State Community College in Jasper, Alabama on June 20 and Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg, Kentucky on June 26.