MSHA: Preventative Roof/Rib Outreach Program Continues Until September

Improvements in roof control technology in underground coal mines have significantly reduced accidents involving roof and rib falls, but these accidents continue to be a leading cause of injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Since, 2013, roof and rib falls led to the deaths of five continuous mining machine operators and injured eighty-three other operators.

To increase hazard awareness among coal mine workers, MSHA continues its annual Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program through September. The Program includes informational posters and safety discussions with groups of working miners about best practices, including:

  • Closely monitor coal rib deterioration, which may occur after mining
  • Install rib bolts, which provide the best protection against rib falls
  • Follow the approved roof control plan to address adverse conditions that may be present
  • Use straps, pizza pans, or screen wire mesh where loose roof/ribs may be encountered
  • Conduct thorough examinations and watch for changing roof/rib conditions
  • Ensure that pillar dimensions and mining methods are suitable for the conditions and roof/rib control methods are adequate for the depth of cover
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