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Winter Alert 2011 Winter Alert 2011

"Knock Out the Risk, Check Your List"


"Conditions at underground and surface coal mines can change dramatically during the winter months," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We must be ever mindful of the seasonal changes that can affect our work environments."

Low barometric pressures and low humidity, coupled with seasonal drying of many areas in underground coal mines, have contributed to the larger number of mine explosions during winter months. Other hazards include limited visibility, icy haulage roads and walkways, and the freezing and thawing effect on highwalls at surface mines.

MSHA warns miners and operators at underground coal mines to follow safety checklists by ensuring adequate ventilation, applying liberal amounts of rock dust, conducting frequent and thorough examinations, and being familiar with emergency procedures to prevent coal mine ignitions and explosions.

Miners also are urged to be vigilant about keeping escapeways clear of impediments. Miners and operators of surface mines should examine the stability of highwalls, remove snow and ice from walkways, de-ice any equipment, and apply salt and sand liberally where needed.

During their normal inspection duties, MSHA inspectors will distribute posters, hardhat stickers, and an "Examination Awareness" pocket card that can be discussed during meetings with underground coal miners.

Examination Awareness

    - PDF Version

Underground coal mines are dynamic work environments where working conditions change rapidly and without warning. Examinations are the first line of defense for miners working in underground coal mines.

Preshift and supplemental examinations require a certified person to:

Examine for hazardous conditions such as float coal dust accumulations.

Like the preshift examination, the on-shift examination is intended to identify hazards that develop during the shift. Generally, the on-shift examination includes:

Weekly examinations are directed at hazards that develop in remote and less frequently traveled areas of the mine such as worked-out areas and bleeder entries. Requirements for weekly examinations generally include:

Decal, Posters, and Pocket Card
(Right Click/File Save to Download)
Metal/Nometal Mine Poster
Metal/Nonmetal Mine Poster
Coal Mine Poster
Coal Mine Poster
Winter Alert 2011 Decal
Winter Alert 2011 Pocket Carda
Pocket Card
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