Death, Money and Facts for American Surface Mines

Good News
In 2008, the number of fatalities at U.S. surface mines dropped to a record low of 28. Great!

Bad News
28 American surface miners needlessly lost their lives. Not so great.

More Bad News
For that same year, MSHA slammed surface mines with a record $194 million in penalties. That’s 2.6 times the amount for the previous year.

Last year (2008) was an all time low for surface mine deaths in the U.S. totaling only 28 lives. This statistic shows us that with the proper safety training we can reduce the number of deaths and injuries. At the same time, this also points out the loss of 28 surface miners which could have potentially been avoided with proper training.

As surface mine operators subject to MSHA Part 46 regulations, you should be aware of the heavy fines for safety and health violations. In 2008 MSHA assessed 198,700 penalties for violations, compared to the 130,100 violations in the previous year. The dollar amount for all these penalties in 2008 was $194 million, compared to just $74.5 million in 2007. Penalties of this magnitude indicate that MSHA is being proactive in assessing mine safety and health and that remaining out of compliance poses huge financial risks for those willing to gamble.

According to MSHA, the root cause of the 28 U.S. surface mine deaths was attributed to:

  • Inadequate training
  • No risk assessment conducted
  • Inadequate policies, procedures, and controls
  • Not using personal protective equipment
  • Lack of pre-operation checks
  • Not maintaining equipment
  • Failure to conduct examinations

Record low deaths of surface miners and record high penalties for violations of safety and health go hand in hand. We see that MSHA has raised awareness in order to save lives by increasing enforcement and handing out $194 million in penalties.

At Convergence Training, we feel very strongly that we can help improve surface mine safety while keeping mine operators compliant with MSHA Part 46 training requirements. Everybody wins when miners get to go home to their families and mine operators lower their costs.

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