New initiative launched to address increased injuries, fatalities among less experienced coal miners

New initiative launched to address increased injuries, fatalities among less experienced coal miners

Less experienced miners – both at a mine and at a specific occupation – suffer injuries at a higher rate compared to more experience miners, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The data compiled over a period of 18 months, from October 2015 to March 2017, shows-
• Miners with one year or less of experience at a mine- 903 injuries
• Miners who had worked at a mine between one and two years – 418 injuries.
• Miners with one year or less job experience – 603 injuries,
• Miners with between one and two years job experience-409 injuries

“Of the eight coal mining fatalities so far in 2017, seven involved miners with one year or less experience at the mine, and six involved miners with one year or less experience on the job,” said Patricia W. Silvey, deputy assistant secretary of labor. “We at MSHA will be working closely with mine operators and miners to eliminate these fatalities.”

A Training Assistance Initiative launched throughout the nation’s coalfields by MSHA, seeks to address the causes and trends in recent coal fatalities.

Since June 12, 2017, MSHA has been spreading word about the initiative’s planned launch, urging operators to participate and provide information about miners hired within the previous one year, and those in their current job for 12 months or less.

This information will enable MSHA to better focus its resources on the greatest fatality and injury risks.
Staff from the agency’s division of Coal Mine Safety and Health and training specialists from Educational Field and Small Mine Services will be visiting coal mines with the following objectives:

• Review the approved training plan posted at the mine ensuring all information is up to date, and the most recently approved plan is posted.
• Talk to and observe work practices of miners with one year or less experience at the mine to evaluate the effectiveness of the mine operator’s new miner and experienced miner training program.
• Talk to and observe work practices of miners with one year or less experience performing their current job to evaluate the effectiveness of the mine operator’s task training program.
• Identify deficiencies and offer suggestions in training.
• Work with mine operators to improve their training programs.

MSHA personnel may ask operators to allow miners with more experience at the mine to accompany agency personnel during interactions with miners who have less experience.
The initiative runs through Sept. 30, 2017.