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MSHA News Release: [02/17/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot
Phone Number: (202) 693-9406
Release Number: 06-284-NAT


MSHA Declares Feb. 20 - 24 "Focus on Safety Week" for Metal and Nonmetal Mines Nationwide

ARLINGTON, Va. -- David G. Dye, acting administrator for the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced today that he is asking metal and nonmetal mines nationwide to discuss with employees good safety and health practices, risk assessment and hazard control.

"I am making a personal appeal to operators, managers and miners at every metal and nonmetal mining operation throughout the country to take some time to "Focus on Safety," Dye said. "I encourage all mine operators to talk with their miners and managers about the importance of safety in their operations to ensure that their miners return to their families safe and healthy at the end of their shifts."

Dye added that he is asking metal and nonmetal mine operators to discuss safety practices with employees before each shift and before any mining activity begins throughout the week. The number of fatal accidents in metal and nonmetal mines rose from 27 in 2004 to 35 in 2005. Powered haulage accidents, which occur around equipment used to transport mined materials, were the leading cause of fatal accidents in metal and nonmetal mines in 2005. Of the 27 fatalities that occurred last year, 13 involved mobile equipment and three were linked to conveyor belts. Nine of the victims in powered haulage accidents were not wearing seat belts. MSHA distributed materials to metal and nonmetal mine operators stressing the importance of identifying hazards before beginning a task, taking steps to control or eliminate those hazards and ensuring that miners wear the appropriate protective equipment.

MSHA conducted a "Stand Down for Safety" nationwide on Feb. 6 following an upsurge in coal mining fatalities asking coal mine operators to discuss safety issues with their employees before their shifts began.

For more information about MSHA's "Focus on Safety Week" for metal and nonmetal mines nationwide, please visit www.msha.gov.

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