On April 14th, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Administration, Christopher J. Williamson, has called on the mining industry to join forces with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to identify and eliminate safety and health hazards that can cost miners their lives.
In an open letter to the mining community, Williamson expressed concern over the 16 fatalities that have occurred so far this year, which have involved accidents such as vehicle collisions, electrocutions, falls from elevated surfaces, equipment roll-overs, and drowning. MSHA plans to use all the tools at its disposal, including enhanced enforcement, compliance assistance, and education and outreach activities, to help reduce fatalities and injuries. Williamson emphasized that safety and health programs are essential to prevent accidents, and miners must be able to identify and report hazards without fear of retaliation or discrimination. MSHA is launching an annual “Stand Down to Save Lives” day on May 17 to encourage additional focus on safety and health in the mining industry.