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MSHA News Release No. 95-031
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452

July 27, 1995


The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is reminding miners and mine operators across the nation of the potential dangers of working when outside temperatures climb to higher levels.

"We want to be sure that miners and mine operators alike are mindful of the preventive measures they can take when the weather is extremely warm to prevent heat-related illnesses," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Miners at coal mines, metal and nonmetal mines, quarries, mills and other operations can all be affected by the intense summer heat."

MSHA is sending notices to mining industry workers suggesting that cool fluids be consumed consistently throughout the workday; frequent breaks for rest should be planned based on work intensity; and work activities requiring miners to wear specialized, heavier clothing or equipment should be scheduled for cooler parts of the day or broken into smaller tasks with rest breaks in between.

During the past five years, there have been 165 reported cases of heat-related illness in miners. These cases have involved laborers, mechanics, welders, equipment operators, and supervisory personnel.

Additional MSHA information on heat stress may be obtained by calling the agency's National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., at 304-256-3257.