Mine Safety and Health Administration
    MSHA - Protecting Miners' Safety and Health Since 1978

    - Jump to Resources
Fatality Prevention - Rules to Live By
Fatality Prevention - Rules to Live By

“Rules to Live By” is an initiative to improve the prevention of fatalities in mining. Through a first phase of industry outreach and education followed by enhanced enforcement, the focus will be on 24 frequently cited standards (11 in coal mining and 13 in metal/nonmetal mining) that cause or contribute to fatal accidents in the mining industry in 9 accident categories.

In 2009, mining fatalities fell to an all-time low for the second straight year. While the mining community achieved a record-setting low of 34 mining deaths in the United States and has seen a significant decline in fatal mining accidents during the past 10 years, too many miners still lose their lives in preventable accidents. The loss of even one miner causes devastation and pain to the victim's family and friends. From CY 2000 - 2008, 589 miners lost their lives, mostly in single and double fatality accidents. MSHA analyzed these fatal accidents to identify conditions and practices that contributed to the 589 deaths, safety standards violated, root causes, and abatement practices. MSHA's analysis identified 24 standards - 13 in metal and nonmetal mining and 11 in coal mining - frequently cited in fatal accident investigations. These violations fell into 9 different categories:

  • §75.202* Roof, face, and ribs shall be supported and no person shall work or travel under unsupported roof
  • §75.220(a)(1) Develop and follow approved roof control plan
  • §75.511 No electrical work shall be performed on energized low, medium, or high-voltage distribution circuits or equipment …
  • §75.1403-10(i) Off-track haulage roadways shall be maintained…
  • §75.1725(a) Equipment shall be maintained in safe operating condition or, removed from service
  • §75.1725(c) No repairs until power off and blocked
  • §77.404(c) No repairs or maintenance shall be performed until the power is off and machinery is blocked
  • §77.1607(g) All persons shall be clear before starting or moving equipment
  • §77.1607(n) Mobile equipment shall not be left unattended unless brakes are set, chocked…
  • §77.1710(g) Safety belts and lines shall be used where there is a danger of falling
  • §77.1710(i) Seatbelts shall be worn in a vehicle where there is a danger of overturning and where roll protection is provided

       *includes all subparts
The nine accident categories are:
  • Falls from Elevation
  • Falls of Roof and Rib
  • Operating Mobile Equipment (Surface)
  • Operating Mobile Equipment (Underground)
  • Maintenance
  • Lock and Tag Out
  • Struck by Mobile Equipment (Surface)
  • Struck by Mobile Equipment (Underground)
  • Blocking Against Motion
Many miners over the years have lost their lives in these types of accidents. All of us - MSHA, mine operators, contractors, miners' representatives and miners - must focus on why these accidents happen and how to stop them. MSHA will provide operators program and resource information, such as engineering suggestions, and reach out to miners and miners' representatives during inspections to ensure that mine operators and miners have information to address and eliminate workplace hazards.

Compliance with safety and health standards is the responsibility of mine operators. While MSHA supports education and outreach efforts to assist the mining industry in improving mine safety and health, MSHA is charged with ensuring consistent and strict compliance with safety and health standards, and expects operators to foster a culture of zero tolerance for violations in their operations, including violations by contractors. Please share this information with all of your members and constituents.

MSHA has compiled reference material on this page to help operators, contractors, supervisors, miners' representatives, miners, and other members of the mining community to focus on these 24 standards and 9 categories and improve safety and health in America's mines.

I believe it is possible to eliminate fatalities in our nation’s mining industry, and working together we can accomplish that. I look forward to working with you to make that happen.

Important Information from the Assistant Secretary Charts and Analysis Accident Investigation Reports Enforcement Summaries Resources

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.