In the wake of five metal/non-metal fatalities in the last three weeks, MSHA announced Wednesday afternoon that, beginning next week, ?inspectors will be looking to step up enforcement of standards associated with recent fatalities.? During the hastily-arranged conference call of stakeholders Wednesday, agency administrator Joe Main lamented the fact that, since October, 2014, 38 miners and 14 contractors have lost their lives at their workplaces.? The total number of deaths in the MNM sector is 15; five of those have been employees of aggregates operator companies.? On just one day this week, August 3, three people lost their lives in MNM facilities. ?
Main said that inspectors will engage in ?walk & talk? meetings with operators and miners to distribute materials highlighting the causes of recent fatalities, and emphasize the need to comply with the standards related to those cases. ?While those materials are not yet available, they should soon be up on the www.msha.gov homepage, under the headline ?what?s new.?? Review of these materials is important, as the information contained will serve as a guide for what inspectors will be focused on in the future. ?
During the call, MNM administrator Neal Merrifield said that 17 coal inspectors are being switched over to work in the MNM segment. Also, Merrifield has authorized the hiring of an additional 21 inspectors. ?MSHA also indicated that those mines found to not be following best practices associated with the standards found to have been relevant in the fatalities will be subject to impact inspections.
Additionally, Main stated that personnel from the agency?s Education & Policy Development office will reach out to 100 mine facilities selected by for delivery of best practices information. ?Main also emphasized the importance of workplace exams, and that each workplace examiner be competent and trained to conduct a workplace exam.? Main also reiterated his belief that all mine facilities should use a safety and health management system.