MSHA eyes mine safety for month of October

By |  October 6, 2016

msha-logoThe Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) issued a seasonal safety alert because of the number of miners who have died at metal and nonmetal operations during the month of October since 1998.

According to MSHA, 61 miners have died at metal and nonmetal mines in the month of October between 1998 and 2015. A high for the month occurred in 1999, when 10 miners died that October. Eight miners died in October 2002, and six miners died in October 2008.

From 2009 onward, 10 miners have died at mines in October. One miner was killed in October during the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. No miners died last October.

“Last year – in 2015 – a concerted effort by industry and MSHA to make October safe instead of deadly resulted in zero [metal and nonmetal] fatalities, and the positive effect carried over well past the end of the month,” writes Neal H. Merrifield, administrator for metal and nonmetal mine safety and health at MSHA, in an email to mine operators. “MSHA encourages the mining and mineral milling industry to focus intently on safety again this October. Find and fix hazards, reinforce safe work practices and keep safety uppermost in the minds of everyone at your mine or plant.”

According to MSHA, the most common types of accidents that occur in October include “powered haulage” accidents, followed by “fall of person.” These two classes account for 46 percent of the total.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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