Safety and Health Initiatives
MSHA is implementing a Silica Enforcement Initiative to protect Coal and Metal and Nonmetal (MNM) miners’ health by limiting their exposures to respirable crystalline silica. This initiative has four components: inspections, sampling, compliance assistance, and miners’ rights.
Since October 2020, four massive pillar collapses have occurred in limestone mines. Each was accompanied by a powerful air blast and the formation of a large surface sinkhole. Fortunately they did not result in any injuries. Another massive pillar collapse occurred in 2015, and in that instance three miners were seriously injured by the air blast. All of these collapses occurred where floor mining, or benching, had substantially increased the height of the pillars. Three of them occurred in “legacy” areas where mining was completed many years ago.
So far this year, nine miners have been killed and 185 have been injured in accidents involving powered haulage equipment such as shuttle cars, scoops, locomotives, front end loaders and more. Year to date, this is the highest number of powered haulage fatalities since 2006. The safety of mining's most precious resource – the miner – is a critical mission at the Mine Safety and Health Administration.