For many workers, April marks the beginning of spring, its longer days and warmer winds signaling the beginning of a productive season. For miners, however, April is far less promising – every year it's one of the deadliest months in the metal and nonmetal mining industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Since 2000, as many as 50 miners have died in workplace incidents in the month of April alone, according to the DOL, a trend they attribute to the re-opening of mines nationwide after winter's slowdown. Often, mining operations begin again with equipment that has been sitting idle for months or with newly-hired employees who have yet to receive health and safety training. In either case, mining supervisors must take a proactive approach to mitigating these risks before work begins.
To help make April a safer time of year for miners gong back to work, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced a new initiative aimed at empowering and informing workers. The "Think, Plan, Train Before You Begin Work!" program outlines a number of best practices site safety managers can implement to mitigate risks. They include:
- Establishing and communicating safe work procedures.
- Following manufacturers' recommendations on all equipment and safety gear.
- Securing or blocking all equipment against unintended movement.
- Discussing all possible worksite hazards before work begins.
- Updating training materials and programs on a regular basis.
- Training employees for the specific task they have been given.
"These kinds of actions demonstrate that mining deaths can be prevented," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Joseph Main, in a statement. "Our 'Think, Plan Train Before You Begin Work!' alert will help make sure we all stay laser focused on preventing the deadly consequences that April has historically brought."
For comprehensive health and safety training programs in the Houston area, contact Safety Advantage today!