Mining Contractor Compliance is Critical

Aug 18, 2016

The United States Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enforces strict guidelines for mining companies to ensure worker safety. Because miners can be injured or even killed while at work, it is critical for companies to ensure their mining contractors follow standard protocol to keep workers safe on the job.

A safe workplace

One of the most basic components of a safe workplace is communication. MSHA emphasizes the importance of telling employees about the potential dangers of working with chemicals in its Hazard Communication (HazCom) program. When the program is enforced, the goal is to encourage better work procedures and safer behavior. "When put in effect at a mine, HazCom should result in better hazard identification and assessment; more consistent use of personal protective equipment; and greater awareness and care when working near hazardous chemicals," MSHA says in its HazCom compliance guide.

In addition to employee education, mining companies should have emergency plans set up in case an unexpected event threatens worker safety. Employees should be trained in how to respond if an emergency situation strikes and know what they should do to protect themselves.

Workplaces should be prepared for unexpected events such as fires, ventilation issues, and missing employees. For example, miners sometimes need to reach hard-to-access spots via underground walkways. These paths in particular can create hazards if they are not maintained according to proper safety protocol. Employees can slip, trip, or suffer a fall if walkways aren't clear, stable, and dry to prevent serious injuries.

Violations common

Miners can still be in danger even if they've been trained in job safety and there are no obvious threats to their well-being. The most common violation in underground coal mining - the accumulation of coal dust - is not the easiest thing to spot. The coal-dust buildup occurs frequently and has the potential to combust if not cleaned up quickly.

Coal miners aren't the only ones at risk. Nonmetal underground miners may also be threatened by seemingly harmless situations. One of the more common citations in the nonmetal mining industry involves electrical conductors. Mining companies need to ensure these conductors are the correct size and current-carrying capacity so heat will not damage the materials.

It is critical for mining companies to take the precautions necessary to ensure employee safety on the job. However, it is also crucial for businesses working with mining companies to check out their suppliers and be certain their safety record is impeccable. This can help ensure no issues arise after the companies have made an arrangement and no employees are put at risk due to hazardous working conditions.

With BROWZ, MSHA online training can now be done online directly through the BROWZ platform. 

Through an agreement with Vivid Learning Systems, BROWZ now gives you the flexibility to train employees and contractors anywhere, anytime, and with fully automated compliance documentation. There are few places where more hazards exist than a busy mining operation, and our goal is to help our clients improve their safety record through our standardized training solution. Training is 100% online.

To learn more about this partnership and simplify training employees with MSHA, click here.