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MSHA launches second sweep of U.S. coal mines

THE dangers of winter have prompted MSHA to initiate its second sweep of coal mining operations throughout the United States of America.

Angie Tomlinson
MSHA launches second sweep of U.S. coal mines

"With colder weather and its increased hazards approaching, everyone in the mining industry needs to focus on maintaining safe conditions and practices," said MSHA assistant secretary Dave Lauriski. "We are using every mine visit to carry this message to operators and miners."

Enforcement personnel will take time during inspections at active coal mines to tell miners, mine operators and contractors about current concerns, potential hazards and safe work procedures.

MSHA education and training specialists as well as technical personnel also will make mine visits. They will tailor safety information to the conditions at each site.

The major concerns for MSHA is the 36% of fatalities this year that have involved maintenance and construction activities, which include cutting and welding.

Also, 27% of the fatalities in 2003 involved independent contractors and seven of the 28 fatalities this year involved transportation equipment on the surface.

A massive 56% of the victims this year had more than 10 years of total mining experience.

In addition to the coal mine sweep, MSHA has also placed specific safety information on its website at www.msha.gov that provides advice and guidance for avoiding mining hazards. The number of coal mine fatalities currently stands at 28. Coal mine deaths in 2002 totaled 27, a historic low.

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