The US mining industry took a step forward in 2015, recording the fewest fatalities in the history of American mining.
The official figures, issued recently by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), show 28 fatalities for all U.S. mining in 2015. Metal and non-metal mining last year recorded 17 fatalities, while coal mining recorded 11 fatalities – the fewest ever for U.S. coal mines. In 2014, there were 45 mining-related deaths.
“While coal mine closures had some effect on the historic low number of mining deaths, actions by MSHA and the mining industry to improve mine safety have been a major factor,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
Main credited the agency’s use of strategic enforcement tools, including special impact inspections that quickly address problem mines and the retooled Pattern of Violations procedure that targets mines with chronic violations, along with compliance assistance, training and outreach efforts to the mining industry.
According to National Mining Association (NMA), one such initiative that has been especially successful in driving safety progress is association’s own CORESafety® framework, which aims to eliminate fatalities and reduce injury by 50 percent in five years. CORESafety offers a management system approach to mine safety, offering not a “top-down-one-size-fits-all” model but an adaptable and organic framework for operations of all sizes.
“We’re very gratified by this continued progress because it confirms the result of our commitment to make American mines the world’s safest,” said National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn. “The record confirms the value of our safety initiatives and our on-going determination to return every miner home safely after every shift.”