Sam Pierce, Southeast District Manager for MSHA’s Southeast Metal Nonmetal District, led an MSHA Southeast Stakeholder Conference Call on April 23, 2018. Below is a summary of the contents of the call.

1. Mr. Pierce emphasized that he wanted to raise awareness of the recent an increase in Southeast mining related accidents. In the past week, the Southeast has experienced three accidents that may have been near miss incidents. Two of the accidents were related to mobile equipment and one was an electrical shock incident. One excavator was dangerously close to a high wall that collapsed temporarily, subsequently trapping the miner. Additionally, another truck rolled over as the ground collapsed under the vehicle. The electrical shock incident occurred while working on switch gear.

Please note that we are also experiencing extreme weather conditions in the Southeast which may contribute to unstable ground. Mr. Pierce suggests holding toolbox meetings, issuing alerts or various other means to raise the awareness among miners.

2. The new Workplace Exam Rule meetings will be held soon. On May 15, 2018, a meeting will be held in Birmingham, Alabama. The various stakeholder meetings have been posted to MSHA’s website. Additional meetings will be offered in the Southeast District Office and will be announced at a later date. The agency plans to record one of the sessions and provide the link on their website. Also, there will be operator site training sessions made available upon request. The new rule date is June 1, but there will be a phase-in period through October 1, 2018. Many concerns will be addressed in upcoming meetings and a series of Q&A’s will be posted on MSHA’s website.

3. MSHA will announce a new focus for powered equipment safety aimed at avoiding many of the related accidents. We look forward to learning more about this in the upcoming weeks and will keep you informed. In the meantime, please note that many injuries in the Southeast relate to climbing safely when exiting the vehicles.