Learning about MSHA, the OSHA cousin for the mining industry

TIM BURTON, the operations manager for Safety Solutions & Supply, reports that our mine safety classes are among the most taken or attended classes we offer. These would be the training courses titled MSHA New Miner and MSHA Experienced Miner Refresher.

If you’re not familiar with the mining industry, you might now be wondering: “What is MSHA? What does MSHA stand for?”

MSHA is the Mine Safety and Health Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. MSHA (pronounced em-shuh) basically is for the mining industry (above ground as well as underground) what OSHA — another Labor department agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — is for all other workplace environments.

Despite a long history of mining in this nation, MSHA is a relatively new federal regulatory agency (although federal mining statutes date back to 1891). It was founded by Congress 40 years ago to administer the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. By contrast, OSHA dates back to 1971.

From the MSHA website — www.msha.gov — we learn that agency “works to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners. … The agency develops and enforces safety and health rules for all U.S. mines regardless of size, number of employees, commodity mined, or method of extraction. MSHA also provides technical, educational and other types of assistance to mine operators. We work cooperatively with industry, labor, and other federal and state agencies to improve safety and health conditions for all miners in the United States.”

According to MSHA, “Safety and health in America’s mining industry made significant strides during the 20th century and over the last several decades in particular. In 1978, the first year MSHA operated under the Mine Act of 1977, 242 miners died in mining accidents. In 2015, this number fell to 28 fatalities.”

Among the hundreds of MSHA provisions are requirements for miner training, and this is where Safety Solutions & Supply comes in. We’re a top provider of MSHA-certified new-miner and refresher training at our state-of-the-art teaching facilities in Mulberry, Fla., and Gonzales, La., both leading areas for phosphate mining. Our new-miner training course addresses the initial 24-hour training requirements of the MSHA provisions called Part 46 and Part 48. Part 46 training pertains to surface-mining operations for sand, gravel, stone, crushed stone, limestone, clay, shell dredging, and colloidal (soft rock) phosphate mining. Part 48 pertains to all other surface and underground mining operations.

MSHA requires that every newly employed miner complete new-miner training within a specified time period after starting work at a mine. If the miner is considered experienced, the miner must receive experienced-miner training, an eight-hour refresher course.

For more about MSHA-required training through Safety Solutions & Supply, go to solutionsinsafety.com/training/msha/. For course schedules, go to solutionsinsafety.com/upcoming-events/. For more information about Safety Solutions & Supply — its team, services, other training programs, and safety products — visit us online at solutionsinsafety.com or call 1-866-537-2262.