Walk and Talk Visits targeting Safety Awareness being used by MSHAIn efforts to improve safety, MSHA will institute a series of walk and talk visits in efforts to reduce coal mining injuries and fatalities.

From October 2015 to August 2016, there have been over 1,000 injuries and 8 deaths in coal mines. The majority of injuries in these cases were due to, otherwise, avoidable issues. Of those causes of coal-mine injuries, those related to, powered haulage, machinery classification, and electrical malfunction, have proven to be the most frequent. Long identified as a dangerous field of work, coal-mining is now undergoing a national call to safety.

The United States Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is instituting a series of walk and talk  visits, throughout the country, in an effort to reduce those, otherwise, avoidable incidents of injury and to eliminate those accidents which have proven fatal. This national program is in response to the overwhelming amount of accidents which not only affect the health of the average coal miner, but also often result in restricted duty or missed days at work. Through September 30th, inspectors will visit coal miners who work in underground mines and will encourage them to “stop and take a breath”.

MSHA administrator, Joseph A. Main, said, “These walk and talk visits are intended to increase miners’ awareness of recent accidents, encourage the application of safety training and raise hazard recognition.”

Of those coal mine-related accidents, West Virginia led all states with 419 non-fatal incidents. Kentucky was next, with 191, followed by Pennsylvania, with 130, and Illinois, with 94. Twenty-one states recorded at least one incident.

The safety and livelihood of the coal miner is, oftentimes, dependent upon the supervision of a knowledgeable supervisor. Walk and Talk Visit have proven to be effective in boosting awareness and encouraging good safety practices. One resource which coal mining safety leaders may choose to utilize are MSHA-approved safety training courses.  A program to educate safety leaders and, subsequently, to implement a system of safety protocol, especially one that institutes a “stop and take a breath” rest period for coal mining employees, could effectively reduce unnecessary injury and downtime for employees. Courses for New Surface Miners and Annual Renewal Programs are available online for education and training of all personnel.