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MSHA News Release: [07/05/2006]
Contact: Amy Louviere   Dirk Fillpot
Phone:    (202) 693-9406   (202) 693-9423
Release Number 06-1131-NAT

MSHA's 'PROP' Calls Attention to Hazards That Lead to Roof Falls

ARLINGTON, Va.-The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is renewing its efforts to increase awareness concerning the hazards that lead to fatal roof fall accidents in underground coal mines. As part of the awareness effort, MSHA inspectors will be speaking to mine operators and working miners about the dangers of roof falls and rib rolls and how to prevent these accidents.

"This is an excellent opportunity for mine operators and miners to learn more about the causes of roof fall accidents and how to prevent injuries and fatalities," said David G. Dye, acting administrator for mine safety and health. "Given the number of roof fall fatalities that the coal mining industry experienced in 2005, as well as those which have already happened in 2006, it is important that mine operators and miners are educated about preventive measures. We hope this program will go a long way in helping to eliminate roof fall accidents in the nation's mines."

As of June 2006, four roof fall fatalities and two rib roll fatalities have occurred in U.S. coal mines. Last year, there were nine roof fall fatalities during all of 2005, and there were a total of four such fatalities in 2004.

MSHA's Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program (PROP) began on June 21 and concludes on Sept. 22. Under the PROP initiative, MSHA will distribute four "best practices" bulletins to the mining industry and the agency will conduct examinations at all underground coal mines.

To prevent roof and rib accidents, mine managers and miners should: MSHA will also solicit the assistance of state mining agencies and other mining associations to help bring focus to the problem of roof fall hazards in underground coal mines.

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