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Mine Safety Agency Warns of Dangers from Falls of Mine Roof, Rib, Face

A safety alert on the dangers of falls from the roof, rib, or face of mines from the Mine Safety and Health Administration reminds employers to be vigilant about following best practices to avoid the dangers.

Since June 27, 2011, MSHA said, nine supervisors have been killed as a result of falls of mine roof, rib, or face. During this period, it said, the fatalities accounted for 45 percent of all deaths arising from these types of accidents. The agency said these fatalities “can be reduced if not eliminated” when miners use MSHA best practices as a guide.

In one incident, the agency said, on February 23, 2017, a loose rock in a mine fell from between installed roof bolts, striking a foreman on an active mining section. The victim was hospitalized after the accident, but died from his injuries on April 6, 2017.

MSHA recommends the following best practices:

  • Know and follow the approved roof control plan.

  • Make frequent examinations and be alert to changing conditions that may affect roof or rib conditions.

  • Scale loose roof or ribs.

  • Use test holes to check for cracks and other hazards above the anchorage of the roof bolts.

  • Inform mine management and other miners about unusual roof or rib conditions.

  • Install additional roof or rib support when adverse conditions are encountered or anticipated.

  • Use supplemental support for roof skin control, such as screens, steel straps, header boards, or larger roof bolt plates.

  • Never travel under an unsupported roof.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017

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About this Author

Carla J. Gunnin, Jackson Lewis, OSHA Lawyer, Employment Safety Attorney
Principal

Carla Gunnin is a Principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is Co-Leader of the firm’s Workplace Safety and Health practice group. She focuses her practice on occupational safety and health issues.

Although she is based in the firm’s Atlanta office, Ms. Gunnin has a national practice and litigates cases before federal and state administrative tribunals throughout the United States in matters of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) law and Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) law.

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