MSHA's Safety Targets Program
Roof and Rib or Top and Back Falls
Do's and Don'ts
- Conduct a risk assessment.
- Know and always follow the roof control plan.
- Ensure roof control plans are adequate for amount of overburden (cover) and address mines above or below active workings. Review and revise roof control plans frequently to adjust for changing conditions.
- Follow the mine plan to keep pillars uniform.
- Mine personnel not essential to the specific activity should remain outside the work zone.
- Always stay out of the continuous miner red zone.
- Always thoroughly examine roof, face, and ribs prior to traveling through areas and entering areas to work. Frequently re-examine during the shift.
- Always remember: roof conditions are continually changing. Be alert to changes!
- Scale down or support loose material.
- Use scaling equipment with sufficient reach to prevent exposure to falling material.
- Danger off areas where hazards are found.
- Report unsafe roof and rib conditions immediately to the section supervisor.
- Roof bolters should immediately report any voids, mud, water, or other unusual conditions encountered while drilling.
- Install additional supports where entry width and bolt spacing exceed roof control plan specifications.
- Design, install, and maintain a supplemental support system to control ground where additional support is necessary.
- Bolt the rib where needed.
- Test and visually examine ground conditions prior to commencing drilling activity.
- Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition, specifically when bolting.
- Install barriers to impede entry when ground conditions may create a hazard.
- Take proper precautions such as dangering off the area and installing supplemental supports when cracks or other abnormalities are detected.
- Pay particular attention to deteriorating roof conditions when in older mine areas.
- Use supplemental support for immediate roof control (such as screens or larger roof bolt plates) to prevent loose material from falling between roof bolt plates.
- Caution-slickenside shale may indicate the presence of roof hazards such as horsebacks or kettle bottoms.
- Design and utilize mining methods that will maintain stability and control the ground in places where persons work or travel.
- Take precautions to prevent mine equipment from damaging roof supports/bolts.
- Use posts or jacks as temporary supports when machine failure/disabled require accessing equipment inby permanent supports.
- Don't start work until the risk assessment is completed.
- Don't travel or work under unsupported roof or brows.
- Don't mine a working face into an unsupported area or intersection.
- Don't begin work in an area without checking the roof conditions first.
- Don't begin work in an area where unsafe roof conditions have been identified.
- Don't leave dangerous areas without barricading them from entry.
- Don't forget to notify the section supervisor of the hazardous roof conditions.
- Don't return to work in an area before unsafe roof conditions have been corrected.
- Don't work underground without proper training in roof hazard recognition and the roof control plan.
- Don't work in the continuous miner red zone.
- Don't leave hazards in your work area. Keep your work area clean and organized.
Some or all of the files available on this page are PDF. For more information on PDF, PDF readers and accessibility issues, please use this link.