MSHA launches Stand Down to Save Lives to focus on safety in mining industry

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration, known as MSHA by most, is taking steps to address safety.

They’ve launched the first Stand Down to Save Lives day, which is May 17th.

Assistant Secretary Chris Williamson spoke with WDIO about this initiative.

“It’s about setting aside one day and one week a year where we spend a little bit extra time and a little bit extra focus on making sure that we’re adequately protecting miners safety and health. And we can identify potential hazards and work to eliminate them,” Williamson said.

The agency said there are already 18 fatalities in the mining industry in 2023.

They’ve begun impact inspections again, which stopped during the pandemic. “We’re seeing troubling things both on the health and the safety side. And unfortunately, some of the things that we’re uncovering in these impact inspections are some of the same issues that we’re seeing and the fatality investigations and reports,” according to Williamson.

There’s also a grant program that provides funding for additional training, which Williamson said is important when you have newer miners entering the workforce. You must apply for grant funding by June 12th.

And Williamson said there is focus on health as well. “Because if miners aren’t protected from things such as silica and they’re exposed to toxins like silica over a period of time, they develop occupational illnesses that can be debilitating and deadly like silicosis,” Williamson said.

MSHA leaders spent Wednesday touring mines around the country.

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