MSHA to Award Grants for Mine Safety Education, Training

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced the availability of up to $1 million in grants for education and training programs to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around the nation’s mines.

The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act) established the Brookwood-Sago grant program to promote mine safety in honor of 25 miners who died in Brookwood, Ala., in 2001 at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine, and in Buchannon, W.Va., in 2006 at the Sago Mine.

Funding will enable grant recipients to develop education and training programs on safety and health for mine operators and miners, with special emphasis on programs that target workers at small mines.

Each grant recipient will receive at least $50,000 with a maximum individual award of $250,000. MSHA may incrementally fund these grants based on milestones and availability of funds.

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NSSGA Announces Gold Safety Awards

The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) announced the recipients of this year’s Safety Excellence and Sterling Safety Awards.

“The aggregates industry is committed to developing and upholding a culture of safety at quarries across the nation. We are proud to recognize these outstanding operations for working diligently to ensure that all of their staff makes it home at the end of their shift,” said Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO.

The stone, sand and gravel sector has seen the lowest injury rate in history, with just two injuries per 200,000 hours worked in 2015. The milestone also marked the 15th consecutive year that the industry saw fewer injuries than the previous year.

The Safety Excellence Program was created in 1987 to promote safe working conditions and practices and to recognize, on an annual basis, individual operations with exemplary safety records among NSSGA member companies. The awards recognize individual operations that have gone the longest duration without a reportable injury in their size category, based on data provided by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Safety Excellence Gold Award Recipients

  • Small: Tilcon Connecticut Inc., Southington Sand and Pit (Oldcastle Inc.), New Britain, Conn.
  • Medium: Abilene Blacklease Quarry (Vulcan Materials Co.), Vestavia, Ala.
  • Large: Dalton Quarry (Vulcan Materials Co.), Jacksonville, Fla.

The Sterling Safety Award was created in 1994 to recognize the companies that have the lowest total accident incidence rate for the previous year (2016) in their category among NSSGA members. Data on which the award is based is provided by MSHA.

Sterling Safety Gold Award Recipients

  • Small: Iddings Quarry Inc., Mifflinburg, Pa.
  • Medium: Wiregrass Construction Co. Inc., Dothan, Ala.
  • Large: Specialty Granules Inc., Hagerstown, Md.

The Gold Awards for Community Relations, Safety Excellence and Sterling Safety were presented at NSSGA’s 2017 Annual Convention in Las Vegas, March 3-7.

MSHA Issues Close Call Accident Alert

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued the following close call accident alert.

A truck operator was driving a water truck back to the plant from the quarry when he reached for the CB radio to change to a different channel used by haul trucks when on mine property. The driver took his eyes off the road and dropped the front wheel off the pavement pulling the truck off the road.

The steepness of the bank caused the truck to tip over. The driver was wearing his seat belt and was not injured. He was able to exit the truck through the windshield.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid these types of accidents:

  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Maintain control of mobile equipment.
  • Eliminate distractions while operating equipment. Stop if you need to, eliminate the distraction and then continue your work.
  • Ensure that objects inside of the cab are secured so they don’t become airborne during an accident.

This alert can be posted on bulletin boards, used in safety talks, or given to miners and contractors as a hand out, MSHA said.

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