MSHA Begins Roof Control Outreach Program

With 265 mines hurt last year in roof and rib falls, the number of accidents is dropping. But they remain a leading cause of injuries in underground coal mines.

MSHA has launched its annual Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program to continue increasing awareness by miners and mine operators of the hazards of roof and rib falls. They're declining but remain a leading cause of injuries in underground coal mines, according to the agency.

MSHA reports 265 miners were hurt last year in roof and rib falls, down from 377 in 2012, and nearly half of the 2013 accidents occurred during the four-month period from June through September. "Even though there was a welcome reduction in the overall number of roof control injuries, too many coal miners are still being hurt on the job in these kinds of accidents," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.

The 2014 campaign will run through September and will focus on conditions specific to the summer months. MSHA has created posters, hard hat stickers and lists of best practices for distribution to miners and mine operators during normal inspections and during its inspectors' safety talks. Inspectors are distributing an Accident Prevention Alert that lists best practices to prevent roof and rib accidents related specifically to retreat mining.

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