"Make your New Year's resolutions early - resolve to stay safe and healthy in your mining workplace throughout this holiday season and all throughout the coming new year," said MSHA assistant secretary Richard Stickler.
The agency provided some tips and discussion points for safety promotion ideas that can be used not only now, but also throughout the year.
First, it said, ensure the work environment is top priority. This can be accomplished with risk assessment and management processes such as SLAM (Stop-Look-Analyze-Manage) and SMART (Stop-Measure-Act-Review-Train).
Other recommendations include:
Using all appropriate personal protective equipment, which are only completely effective when worn;
Conducting thorough pre-operational checks; and
Reducing the effect of winter at the minesite by completing equipment examinations, using sand or salt on icy areas, remaining alert to highwall thaws and freezes, and reviewing areas for proper ventilation.
MSHA also reminded the mining community that planning for holiday travel as well as gatherings and events for the occasion can divert attention from the task at hand, and the increased alcohol consumption during the season can lead to impaired driving and even impaired work.
Workers should also be on the lookout for fatigue in themselves and their workmates, as being tired can often make concentration on difficult and important tasks more difficult.
"Make it your top priority to focus on safety during the holiday season - both at work and after work," said Stickler.
"Concentrating on safety first can save your life, as well as the lives of your co-workers, your friends and your family."