MSHA Part 46 mandates safety training requirements at surface mines. For more specifics about that, please read our What Is MSHA Part 46? article (a quick side-note: we’ll include a lot of other helpful links to MSHA Part 46-related materials at the end of this article).
Within Part 46, MSHA requires different types of mining safety training to be delivered to different types of miners and employees and at different times. MSHA and Part 46 call these requirements “training programs,” and here are the ones MSHA lists:
- New Miner Training (46.5)
- Newly Hired Experience Miner Training (46.6)
- New Task Training (46.7)
- Annual Refresher Training (46.8)
- Site-Specific Hazard Awareness Training (46.11)
It’s the Part 46 Annual Refresher Training Program for surface miners that we’re going to look at more closely in this article.
In 46.8, the regulation states that the annual refresher safety training must include “instruction on changes at the mine that could adversely affect the miner’s health or safety.” In addition to that, however, the regulation says that “refresher training must also address other health and safety subjects that are relevant to mining operations at the mine.”
Although MSHA doesn’t require specific training topics for those “other health and safety subjects…relevant to mining operations at the mine,” they do provide a list of suggestions or possibilities.
This article will provide more details about those suggestions from MSHA for additional training to include in the Part 46 Annual Refresher Training Program in addition to changes at the mine.
Before you begin reading (or maybe after), you may also enjoy checking out these two fun, interactive/multimedia online mining safety training tools we’ve got for you:
- Interactive Surface Mining Physical Environment Glossary
- Interactive Surface Mining Equipment Glossary
As explained if you follow those two links above, you can even download these for free.
As we give suggestions below, we’ll include some samples of online training for each topic. These samples are drawn from the online MSHA training courses offered by Convergence Training. A short sample highlight video is below.
What to Include in MSHA Part 46 Annual Refresher Training (Other Than Changes at the Mine)?
In addition to the MSHA requirement that you provide training about “changes at the mine,” the Part 46 regulations states that “refresher training must also address other health and safety subjects that are relevant to mining operations at the mine.”
Remember that this could include safety training that’s specific to mining safety but also general safety training of the kind you might associated with OSHA.
The regulation goes on to list other recommended subjects to consider as part of the Annual Refresher Training, including the following:
Health and Safety Requirements
MSHA notes this could include covering safety and health standards, which of course would include training about the MSHA Part 46 regulation and the rights and legal responsibilities of miners.
This online training course on miner’s rights and legal responsibilities might be a good addition to your Annual Refresher training program for this topic.
This could include safety and health risks of chemicals at the mine, appropriate work procedures to follow and PPE to use/wear when working with these chemicals, and of course a refresher on Hazard Communication, including labeling elements and safety data sheets.
This online Chemical Hazards at a Mine training course might be a good addition to this mining safety training topic for Part 46 Annual Refresher.
Likewise, so might this online Hazard Communication training course, which covers important information about required elements on a chemical label, safety data sheets (SDSs), and more.
By the way, if you’d like more information about Hazard Communication, check some of these articles:
- What Is GHS & How Is It Related to Hazard Communication?
- What Is a Hazard Communication Hazard Statement?
- What Is a Hazard Communication Pictogram?
- What Is a Hazard Communication Signal Word?
- What Is a Safety Data Sheet?
- OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard and Program
- GHS Label Requirements, Symbols, and Classifications
This article includes some additional interesting information about chemical risks in mining.
Transportation Controls and Communication
To ensure that employees follow safe transportation practices while using mobile equipment (including pickup trucks, haul trucks, dozers, and similar equipment), the mine system should have a good transportation control system and all employees should know it.
Refresher training on issues related to transportation control is always a good idea. This includes covering speed limits, the meaning of traffic control signs at the mine, and more.
This MSHA Surface Powered Haulage Safety webpage may be a help on this topic.
Emergency Evacuation Plans and Escape Plans
It’s always best to have an emergency evacuation plan in place before an emergency occurs. And telling employees about the evacuation plan one time, perhaps when they’re hired and before they even work an hour on the job, isn’t enough. They’ll forget it (you may find this article on Training and the Forgetting Curve interesting for evidence of how much we forget without refresher training).
So emergency evacuation plan training is definitely a smart thing to add to your Part 46 Annual Refresher training. This online Emergency Evacuation Plan training course may be a good way to begin that training.
In addition, escape respirator training, including this online Escape Respirators & SCSRs training course, may be very helpful.
You may want to check this MSHA final rule on emergency mine evacuations as well.
Firewarning and Firefighting
Fires are a serious hazard at most workplaces and that includes mines too.
Part 46 Annual Refresher training could include refresher training on fire safety issues, including
- Fire prevention
- Fire warnings (alarms, etc.)
- Fire fighting techniques
For example, this Online Fire Safety training course could help introduce issues related to fire prevention.
And this online Fire Extinguisher Safety training course would be a good way to help introduce fire fighting techniques into your Part 46 Annual Refresher training.
You may also find the following articles about fire safety helpful:
- How to Pass an OSHA Fire Extinguisher Inspection
- How to Use a Fire Extinguisher: Step-by-Step Instructions
- Types of Fire Extinguishers & Which to Buy
- What to Teach Employees About Fire Extinguishers
Ground Conditions and Control
It’s important to keep proper (and safe) ground conditions and ground control at a surface mine site, and annual refresher training to help employees avoid creating unsafe conditions and identify (and report) unsafe conditions is a wise idea.
This online Ground Control & Ground Control Inspections at a Mine training course is a good way to introduce key ground control topics with mining employees.
You may also find this MSHA Ground Control Plan Compliance Assistance Website helpful.
Traffic Patterns and Control
Always provide refresher training about traffic patterns at the mine and traffic control, including policies and signs.
This MSHA Surface Powered Haulage Safety webpage may be a help on this topic.
Working in Areas of Highwalls
Highwalls are a distinct hazard in mining sites (when not properly constructed and managed).
Be sure miners understand issues related to highwall stability.
Our online General Physical Characteristics of Surface Mines training course covers highwalls and other topics.
In addition, the online Ground Control & Ground Control Inspections at a Mine training course that we mentioned earlier is a good way to introduce key safety issues involving highwalls.
You may also find this MSHA Highwall Safety document helpful.
Water Hazards, Pits, and Spoil Banks
Of course, many surface mines are near water–for example, along a river where dredging occurs and/or for transportation. As a result, it’s a good idea to include safety training related to working near water.
This online Working Near or Above Water training course is a good place to start.
In addition, this MSHA Ground Control document includes information about pits and spoil banks you may find helpful.
Illumination and Night Work
In many surface mines, mining operations continue even once the sun’s down.
As a result, it’s a good idea to provide annual refresher training to miners on issues related to working at night–lighting, high-viz vests, and more.
This online Night Shift Safety training course can be a good addition for your Part 46 Annual Refresher.
You may also find this NIOSH document on working night shifts helpful.
You never know what kind of first aid situation might occur at a workplace, and you never know when it might happen, either.
What we do know, however, is that mining is an occupation with some real hazards and it would certainly not be a surprise if someone needed to know first aid at any given surface mining operation.
We have Online First Aid training on more than 30 different first aid topics. Click to see our list of online First Aid courses, all of which you could add to your Part 46 Annual Refresher training.
One example is our online Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training course.
Electrical hazards are also the cause of mining injuries and possibly even fatalities as well.
Reminder workers of the hazards of electricity and how to work safely around electricity is a good idea.
Online online Working with Electricity at a Mine training course is a good foundational reminder of electrical safety and hazards.
We’ll include some other suggested electricity-related safety training courses below.
Our Electrical Safety General Awareness e-learning course helps to set the basics about electricity.
Our Electric Shock e-learning course focuses on the specific hazard of electrical shock.
Our Arc Flash Safety e-learning course explains the hazards of Arc-Flash, which many workers are not familiar with.
And we even have an NFPA 70E e-learning course for workers more directly involved in electrical work.
Prevention of Accidents
There are many aspects related to accident prevention.
One is hazard identification and reporting. Another is following proper work procedures and wearing appropriate PPE. Another is knowing about the Hierarchy of Controls.
Some of our courses on hazard awareness at a mine can be a help here. We’ve included some samples below, including our:
Of course, workplace safety examinations/inspections also play a role in reducing injuries at a mine. Our Online Workplace Examinations at a Mine training course covers the basics here.
Finally, you may also want to read up on the basics of safety and health management.
Explosives are common at a mining site and they present serious hazards.
As a result, employees should receive safety training about working safely with explosives or even working safely in their general presence.
Our online Commercial Explosives Safety training course is a good place to start.
In addition, you may want to check out this MSHA Best Practices Guide for Avoiding Explosives and Blasting Accidents.
The hazard from silica is covered in our Online Crystalline Silica Awareness training course.
You may find some of our training courses helpful, including:
- Online Respirator Basics training course
- Online Air-Supplying Respirators training course
- Online Air-Purifying Respirators training course
And here’s a sample from our online Escape Respirators & SCSRs training course.
You may also find this MSHA Respiratory Protection Program document helpful.
In addition to all the suggestions listed above, the Part 46 mining safety training regulation recommends training “on the hazards associated with the equipment that has accounted for the most fatalities and serious injuries at the mines covered by this rule.” These include:
Mobile equipment at a mine site present many hazards to workers.
Be sure to continually reinforce to workers the hazards posed by mobile equipment at the mine. Including this in your Part 46 Annual Refresher training will help keep the issue top of mind for workers.
Our Online Working Around Mining Equipment training course is a good start here.
Conveyors, Cranes, Crushers, Excavators, and Dredges
Conveyors, cranes, crushers, excavators, and dredges are also leading causes of injuries and fatalities at the surface mines regulated by Part 46.
As a result, you should provide safety training to miners and other employees about the hazards these machines present and how to work more safely around them.
To become more familiar with these topics, you may enjoy our interactive Surface Mining Equipment glossary below. Click the PLAY button to check it out.
How’d you like that? Fun, huh?
Finally, other safety training subjects that the regulation recommends includes:
Maintenance and Repairs
Many accidents occur during maintenance, and many others can be avoided through proper maintenance. This includes both preventive maintenance, to prevent equipment from breaking down, and maintenance when a piece of equipment has developed a problem.
Our online Maintenance Safety training course is a good addition to to the Part 46 Annual Refresher training efforts here.
The regulation specifically calls out the use of hand tools and welding equipment on this topic as good safety training inclusions.
Here’s a sample from our online Hand & Power Tools training course.
And here’s a sample from our online Welding Safety training course.
You might also want to check out some of our other welding-related training courses, including:
- Welding Equipment and Environments
- Arc Welding Types
- Arc Welding Basics
- Arc Welding Cut Types
- Hot Work Safety
Material handling is yet another hazard at a mine that’s worthy of inclusion in your Part 46 Annual Refresher.
Two big aspects of material handling include ergonomics when lifting and carrying, the use of powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts, and stacking and storage issues familiar from warehouses.
Musculosketal disorders include sprains, strains, twists, and more. These often come about from poor lifting technique or from repetitive motion.
Our online Back Injury Prevention training course explains how to avoid back injuries by lifting properly.
For more information, check OSHA’s Ergonomics Safety and Health Topic page.
You may also benefit from reviewing this MSHA Material Handling PowerPoint.
Fall Prevention and Protection
Falling from heights is always a serious hazard–be it from a ladder, or the top of a building, or just a few feet from one level to the next.
Providing some fall prevention training in your Annual Refresher program can help play a role in keeping employees safe.
Our online Fall Prevention & Protection training course can help with your training efforts here.
Of course, slips, trips, and falls are a big part of fall prevention too, as explained in our online Slips, Trips, and Falls training course.
And don’t forget, while safety training is great, prevention is equally important. Along those lines, following the methods described in our online Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention training course can help.
Working around Moving Objects & Machine Guarding
One last hazard to consider providing training about in your Part 46 Annual Refresher training is how dangerous it can be to work around all the moving objects and machines at a mine site.
To that point, it’s important that workers know to identify these hazards and know the value of machine guarding for keeping them safe from these hazards.
Our online Machine Guarding training course is a good way to begin addressing this topic with miners.
Conclusion: Additional Safety Training Topics for the MSHA Part 46 Annual Refresher Training Program
We hope this article gives you some good ideas of safety training topics to include in your Part 46 Annual Refresher training program.
Let us know if you’d like to get more information about our online MSHA training courses.
And by the way, if you’re asking yourself “Does MSHA allow online Part 46 training?,” they do. Here’s some additional information on that:
Let’s see what the regulation [30 CFR 46.4(d)] says:
Training methods may consist of classroom instruction, instruction at the mine, interactive computer-based instruction or other innovative training methods, alternative training technologies, or any combination of training methods.
So, we’re covered with “interactive computer-based instruction.”
In addition, though, let’s also look at this INTERPRETATION AND GUIDELINES ON ENFORCEMENT OF THE 1977 ACT created by MSHA. Here it says:
MSHA considers computer based or other interactive training technologies to be training “methods,” to be used by a competent person effectively and appropriately. This would not necessarily require that the competent person be in the room at all times; however, the competent person must be available to evaluate the trainee’s progress, and answer questions as they arise.
So again, computer-based, interactive, online training is fine. This even explains it’s a “training method” that can be used by a competent person as part of a Part 46 training program. And it mentions the competent person doesn’t have to be in the room while a learner is viewing the online training–good to know, right?
And please feel free to download the guide below to online MSHA training.
Online MSHA Compliance Guide
Download our free guide to learn how online tools can help you create safer work conditions at a mine site, stay compliant with MSHA Part 46 regulations, and manage your training program more efficiently.