Top 10 underground coal mining MSHA violations

Jan 11, 2014

It's no secret that the mining industry is difficult on workers and contractors, but it is also quite challenging for the large multinational corporations that must simultaneously juggle supplier qualification, risk mitigation and the bevy of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations. Not only must a company manage in-house employees' wages, hours, unions, safety training and human resources issues, but the same consideration must be given to contractors working on even the smallest project aspects.

Unfortunately, contractors may take accidental risks and intentional shortcuts, often garnering violations that may ultimately harm a business' current and future projects. According to MSHA, the top 10 underground coal mining violations of the 46,976 instances so far in 2012 include:

10. Maintenance of belt conveyors and conveyor entries, 2.27 percent of violations (1,067) - In addition to regular maintenance, conveyor belts must also be inspected to ensure proper alignment to prevent the belt from rubbing against the structure or equipment.

9. Maintenance of incombustible content of rock dust, 2.48 percent of violations (1,166) - Rock dust must be distributed in required areas so that combined incombustible materials are not less than 80 percent. Incombustible content should be increased 0.4 percent for each 0.1 percent of methane when present.

8. Insulation and protection of power wires and cables, 2.77 percent of violations (1,302) - Power wires and cables must be insulated and protection. Exceptions include trolley wires, trolley feeder wires and bare signal wires.

7. Roof control plan, 2.81 percent of violations (1,321) - Mine operators must develop and maintain a roof control plan for approval by the district manager. The plan must account for mine conditions, systems and unusual hazards.

6. Other safeguards, 2.84 percent of violations (1,336) - Safeguards must be in place to minimize transportation of workers and materials.

5. Examination, testing and maintenance of electric equipment, 3.2 percent of violations (1,505) - Electric equipment must be regularly tested and examined to guarantee worker safety, especially when equipment appears to be potentially dangerous.

4. Protection from falls of roof, face and ribs, 4.2 percent of violations (1,972) - Roof, face and rib areas must be supported to protect from falls and rock bursts.

3. Maintenance of permissible electric face equipment, 5.02 percent of violations (2,360) - Mine operators must monitor and maintain electric face equipment.

2. Submission and approval of a mine ventilation plan, 5.25 percent of violations (2,464) - Operators must create, propose and sufficiently revise ventilation plans until the district manager approves.

1. Accumulation of combustible materials, 10.46 percent of violations (4,912) - Requires immediate cleanup of combustible materials from equipment.

Large corporations that rely on contractors to handle large business responsibilities may want to consider utilizing third-party contractor management and qualification services like BROWZ to guarantee all workers are trained to follow local and national standards and are up-to-date on safety training and policies.

Category: safety statistics