In just the first three weeks of 2016, and after the safest year in mining history, the coal industry has experienced three fatalities in three separate mining accidents, the highest number of coal accidents to occur in the same time period since January 2006.
- On Jan. 4, a 53-year-old miner was killed when he became entangled in a moving underground conveyer in West Virginia.
- On Jan. 16, a 31-year-old miner was killed when falling material pinned the victim to the mine floor in Pennsylvania.
- On Jan. 19, a 36-year-old miner was killed when he became pinned between a continuous mining machine and a coal rib in Kentucky.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Joe Main said in a statement: “In light of declining coal market conditions, we all need to be mindful that effective safety and health protections that safeguard our nation’s coal miners need to be in place every day at every mine in the country.
Main added, “All miners deserve to work their shifts and return home at the end of the day, safe and healthy.
To that end, the Mine Safety and Health Administration plans to ramp up its targeted enforcement, education and outreach efforts to respond to the troubling number of mining fatalities that have occurred so far this year.
As a result, MSHA is issuing a CALL TO SAFETY for the Nation’s coal mine operators and miners to take a much-needed look at compliance. The last time the nation had experienced this number of coal mine accidents in such a short time frame was in 2006 when 15 miners lost their lives between January 2, 2006 and January 19, 2006.
This recent rash of fatal accidents is a wake-up call to the nation’s miners to take notice and take care of themselves.