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Ground Control Issues For Safety Professionals - Introduction
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  • Description:
    Falls of ground continue to be one of the most serious causes of injury to U.S. miners. Of the 256 fatal injuries that occurred in mining between 1996 and 1998, 59 (23%) were caused by falls of ground (Table 23.1). Falls of ground affect some sectors of the mining industry more severely than others. For instance, nearly 40% of the 98 coal mine fatalities between 1996 and 1998 were caused by falls of ground. Underground miners are at much greater risk than surface miners. Nearly half (45 out of 101) of underground mine fatalities were attributed to roof, rib, and face falls, while only 6% of the 155 surface fatalities were caused by falls of highwalls or slopes. The goal of this chapter is to provide guidance to safety professionals tasked with preventing ground fall injuries. This chapter combines an analysis of the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MS HA) accident and injury data with a survey of industry "best practices" to safeguard miners from ground falls. Ultimately, this approach can help to form the basis of a sound, proactive ground control program for the mining industry. SOURCES OF DATA All the injury data examined in this study were derived from MSHA's fatal investigation reports and the MSHA accident database. Because falls of ground often result in serious injury, MSHA "Fatalgrams" and fatal investigation reports provide a useful snapshot of ground control issues in the mining industry. These reports are available to the public (on the M FHA Web site at www.msha.gov). Fatalgrams, are one-page summaries that are usually published within a month of an accident. They contain very basic information about the accident with a graphic and a short section on relevant best practices. Fatal investigation reports are the official accident investigation reports filed by MSHA personnel. These reports contain general information about the mine, a, description of the accident, physical factors involved in the accident, a conclusion, and enforcement actions, Enforcement actions typically identify citations and discuss violations to the Federal Mining Law. MSHA also maintains comprehensive statistical data on the mining industry's accident and injury record. The law requires that mines file a report on every reportable accident that occurs, containing information on the accident's location, severity, classification, activity, and nature of injury A short narrative is generally included as well. Accident reports can be searched by many of the above fields.

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