The yearly initiative runs through March and targets both underground and surface mines, emphasising the importance of vigilance and safety compliance when temperatures turn colder, which increase these dangers.
For example, dry winter air can crease dry conditions underground, suspending coal dust in the atmosphere and amplifying explosion potential. Also, when the barometric pressure falls, methane can migrate more easily, also increasing explosion risk. Ice and snow at facilities and preparation plants are additional concerns.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health David Zatezalo noted that, during Winter Alert, the agency’s personnel will work to ensure miners and mine operators have information to maintain both safe and healthful working conditions.
He also stressed that some of the most crucial tips for both underground and surface mines over the coming season. While working below the surface, mine examinations are key, including checking for methane, knowing and maintaining the operation’s ventilation plans and controls, applying rock dust continuously to prevent propagation.
At the surface, including mine facilities, being aware of surroundings including visibility, slippery walkways and freezing and thawing highwalls is vital as all may lead to accidents.
Operators should regularly check highwalls and benches for stability, and also examine vehicles for exhaust leaks, potentially limiting idle times on engines. Finally, MSHA said, all mines should be sure to remove snow and ice on roadways, and apply sand to maintain traction.