Since 1995, there have been four years when no miner died while working at a metal or nonmetal mine in the month of December. In years 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012, everyone working at these operations enjoyed a safe holiday season. In the other seventeen years, though, friends and families of miners experienced the tragedy of mourning loved ones during one of the happiest times of the year for most Americans.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration will take the opportunity to remind mine operators, contractors and miners of the importance not only of following general and basic safety rules while mining and processing, but also of maintaining focus on specific job procedures to ensure that miners, their friends and families will continue to enjoy the holidays for many more years.
• Mine operators and contractors must ensure that a thorough workplace examination is done before miners and/or contractors begin work.
• All miners must be trained how to recognize hazards and how to safely perform the tasks they are assigned. Training records must be completed for each miner who is trained.
• The equipment manufacturer’s operator manual must be followed to ensure that miners follow safe procedures for the work being performed.
• Miners must wear personal protective equipment appropriate for the job. At a minimum, this includes hard hat, safety shoes and safety glasses. Additional PPE may include safety harness (when working from heights), lift vest or personal flotation device (for working near water), aluminized clothing (for working near extreme heat sources), and equipment to protect miners from electrocution hazards (special gloves, shoes and hats).
• Operator and contractor employees, miners and visitors must know and follow the established safe policies and procedures for the mining operation where they work or visit.
• Wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment
• Follow lock/tag/try procedures