MSHA Urges Outdoor Enthusiasts to Steer Clear of Mines, Quarries

Each year, numerous children and adults are injured or killed while engaging in recreational pursuits at active and abandoned mine sites across the country.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration marked Memorial Day’s unofficial start of summer with its annual warning to outdoor enthusiasts who may stray — knowingly or otherwise — onto mine property. Each year, numerous children and adults are injured or killed while engaging in recreational pursuits at active and abandoned mine sites across the country.

In 1999, MSHA launched "Stay Out — Stay Alive," a public safety campaign geared to educate people unfamiliar with mining about the hazards that exist at sand and gravel pits, underground mines, and water-filled quarries.

"As schools begin letting out for the summer, there are more opportunities to explore the great outdoors," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health." We want our kids to stay safe and be aware that mines are not playgrounds."

Thomas Jones, a running back with the Kansas City Chiefs, joined forces as SOSA's spokesman last year, and since then has delivered his safety message to children, met with members of Congress to encourage their involvement, and taped several audio and video public service announcements. Jones, whose parents were coal miners in southwestern Virginia, admits to the lure of mine exploration during his early years.

"When you're a kid, you're adventurous and want to check out places like old mines and quarries," Jones said. "We didn't realize the dangers, and there were some close calls."

Abandoned underground mines may harbor hidden openings that drop hundreds of feet down. Rotting timbers and unstable rock formations make cave-ins a real danger. Lethal concentrations of deadly gases can accumulate in underground passages, and total darkness and debris add to the hazards.

Water-filled quarries, which claim the most lives through drowning accidents, have slippery slopes and unstable rock ledges. The water, which looks inviting, may conceal old machinery and sharp objects left behind after a mining operation closes. Even expert swimmers have encountered trouble in the dangerously cold and deceptively deep waters — and they can't rely on lifeguards to rescue them.

Old surface mines, such as sand and gravel pits, are popular with ATV enthusiasts. However, they often contain hills of loose materials in stockpiles or refuse heaps that can easily collapse and cause deadly rollovers.

For further information about "Stay Out-Stay Alive," visit http://www.msha.gov/SOSA/SOSAhome.asp.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue