Mining injuries fall, but companies still need to use caution

May 08, 2014

The Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently revealed that mining fatalities and injuries reached a record low in 2011, a sign that companies are taking safety compliance more seriously and workers are abiding by guidelines that are in place to protect employees.

Incidents decreasing

The agency reported that 2011 fatalities dropped to 0.0114 per each 200,000 hours worked, a number that is down from 2010's rate of 0.0234 for each 200,000 hours worked. Based on the same number of hours worked, injuries in 2011 were lowered to 2.74 from 2010's number of 2.81. It was reported that the rates in coal mines were slightly higher, but even these metrics were a decrease from the rates seen in 2010.

"Even though the mining industry has achieved historic low fatality and injury rates, we know that more needs to be done, and that fatalities and injuries are preventable," said Joseph Main, MSHA's assistant secretary of labor. "Many mines operate every shift of every day, year in and year out, without a fatality of a lost-time injury. Fatalities can be prevented through effective safety and health management programs in the workplace."

Compliance still essential

Just because incidents are down, that doesn't mean mining companies can ease up on safety regulations that are keeping workers safe. The rules are in place for a reason, and they appear to be working more effectively than ever to ensure miners don't suffer from on-the-job injuries or fatalities.

It is still key for companies to be aware of the latest regulations to ensure they're implementing any new policies and rules to keep workers accident free. By striving to stay informed about the latest MSHA guidelines, mining companies can reduce their accident rates. However, it's not just important for mining organizations to know they're following regulations - it's also important for companies hiring mining companies as contractors to know the businesses have implemented rules and safety guidelines that fit in with MSHA standards. A contractor verification system (CVS) can help you have assurance your contractors meet those standards. By failing to thoroughly investigate a contractor, a hiring company risks fines and a blow to its reputation. Contractor safety management is critical, and while it's a mining company's responsibility to follow rules and protect its workers, it is up to a supplier to ensure its contractors are compliant before they are hired.

Category: safety statistics