The United States Mine Safety and Health Administration recently declared a nationwide event specifically designed to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths occurring in America's metal and nonmetal production industries.
Launching the workplace accident prevention campaign, the federal agency has designated Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 as focus on safety week in the U.S.
As part of the event, acting MSHA admintrator David Dye encouraged metal and non-metal mine operators throughout the U.S. to discuss with employees proper safety and health practices, risk assessment and hazard control.
"I am making a personal appeal to operators, managers and miners at every metal and nonmetal mining operation throughout the country to take some time to focus on safety," noted Dye.
"I encourage all mine operators to talk with their miners and managers about the importance of safety in their operations to ensure that their miners return to their families safe and healthy at the end of their shifts," stressed the acting MSHA director.
Dye asked metal and non-metal mine operators at locations throughout the U.S. to discuss safety practices with employees before shifts throughout the week.
The number of fatal accidents in metal and nonmetal mines rose from 27 in 2004 to 35 in 2005, according to data compiled by MSHA.
Powered haulage accidents, which occur around equipment used to transport mined materials, were the leading cause of fatal accidents at America's metal and non-metal operations in 2005.
Of the 27 fatalities that occurred in the industry last year, 13 involved mobile equipment and three were linked to conveyor belts, indicated the federal agency.
Nine of the victims invovled in powered haulage accidents were reportedly not wearing seatbelts at the time the incidents occurred.
MSHA has distributed materials to metal and non-metal mine operators stressing the importance of:
Identifying hazards before beginning a task.
Taking steps to control or eliminate hazards.
Ensuring that miners wear the appropriate protective equipment.
On Feb. 6, MSHA conducted a stand down for safety campaign following an upsurge in coal mining fatalities.
The event encouraged coal mine operators to discuss safety issues with employees before shifts start.