MSHA Collaborating with National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association

Participants at a recent meeting discussed current actions being taken by the agency.

The top official at the Mine Safety and Health Administration recently met with the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association to discuss the agency's current actions to improve miners' health. Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Joe Main updated the NSSGA board of directors, discussing how mine safety has been "on a steady path of improvement" since MSHA began implementing reforms such as the Rules to Live By initiative and the Pattern of Violations program. The former focuses on the most common causes of mining deaths, and the latter targets chronic violators. The POV program has resulted in an 83 percent reduction in the number of chronic violators, according to MSHA.

In addition, the meeting highlighted the fact that the mining industry posted the lowest fatality and injury rates in the history of mining in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Main did express concern at the fact that the end of 2013 included nine mining deaths, and he discussed current outreach efforts aimed at improving compliance and the safety and health of miners.

NSSGA represents companies that produce more than 90 percent of the crushed stone and 70 percent of the sand and gravel consumed annually in the United States. The association held its 2014 annual convention March 3-6 in Las Vegas, and NIOSH presented its inaugural award for Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations for the stone, sand and gravel sector during the event to Richmond, Va.-based Luck Stone. According to NSSGA, Luck won the award because it modified a Cat 988G loader so the operator could run the machine either remotely or traditionally from the cab. This improved safety because the operator of a pit loader can be exposed to increased hazards during some mining activities. "NIOSH is proud to present this inaugural honor for technology innovation in the aggregates sector. Luck Stone exhibited genuine leadership in going above and beyond mandatory requirements to utilize technology to reduce hazards," said Jeffrey Kohler, Ph.D., NIOSH's associate director of mining and also director of the Office of Miner Safety and Health Research.

"NSSGA is very pleased that one of its leading member companies has received national recognition for its commitment to safety and health. While we are pleased to have seen our 13th consecutive year of a reduced injury rate, we are committed to continued innovation until we reduce injuries to the lowest-possible level," NSSGA President and CEO Michael Johnson said.

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