Three May fatalities add to mining’s 2024 total

By |  May 20, 2024
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Mining fatalities slowed significantly to start the year, but three so far in May elevated the 2024 total to seven.

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), which publishes details about each mining fatality online, says three fatal accidents occurred during a nine-day span between May 8 and May 16.

Prior to the May 8 accident, the last mining fatality took place April 15. One miner died this year in a March accident, and two fatal accidents happened in January. No such incidents took place in February.

Despite the fatalities increase in May, the mining industry is still pacing far below last year’s fatal accident rate. In 2023, 20 miners died in accidents in the year’s first five months.

Last year, the mining industry had its deadliest year in a decade, as 40 miners died in accidents across the U.S. The 40 fatalities were the most in a single year industrywide since 2014. Forty-six miners died in accidents that year.

MSHA’s message

Midway through last year, MSHA launched a national campaign to encourage the mining industry to take steps to prevent fatalities and injuries. 

The agency’s “Stand Down to Save Lives” campaign carried over to 2024, with the agency asking the industry to set aside time this week to stress the importance of safety and health in and around mine sites.

“‘Stand Down to Save Lives’ is an opportunity for the entire mining community to prioritize and commit to ensuring the health and safety of all miners,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary of MSHA. “We encourage everyone in the mining community to again join MSHA and to stand down on May 22. As we have learned throughout the years, we succeed when we work together, and miners are safer and healthier as a result.”

During this year’s “Stand Down to Save Lives” event, MSHA encourages the mining industry to have open discussions about common hazards that exist in mining operations, as well as conduct thorough and detailed examinations of workplaces and equipment. The agency also encourages industry stakeholders to take part in safety training sessions that are designed to enhance awareness and preparedness.

Related: P&Q exclusive: MSHA chief reflects on 2023 mining fatalities

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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