MSHA Issues Annual Winter Alert Safety Message

The agency warns the industry to take note of unique hazards in winter.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued its annual Winter Alert message, reminding mine operators and miners to pay special attention to seasonal changes that may affect work environments. The campaign runs through March 2017.

A number of major U.S. mine disasters have occurred during the winter months, according to MSHA's posted data.

"The risk of underground coal mine explosions increases every winter, as do hazards associated with ice and snow that collect at surface facilities and preparation plants," said Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "While mine safety has improved vastly over time, these types of explosions have occurred far too often. We must remain vigilant about the conditions that can set them off."

According to the release, methane gas can migrate more easily into the mine atmosphere when the barometric pressure drops. This year's theme is "Make Safety A Hole in One," and focuses on the prevention of coal mine explosions.

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