South Carolina mine workers may be interested to know that the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is restarting its Preventive Roof/Rib Outreach Program. PROP is an annual event intended to inform mine operators and coal miners about the causes of roof and rib falls.
According to the agency, the primary cause of injuries stem from underground coal mine incidents that result from coal burst, rib falls and roof falls. These injuries occur despite the fact that the number of incidents has been substantially reduced due to enhanced roof control technology. Informative posters will be distributed by MSHA during standard inspections of underground coal mines. Another feature of the program is discussions with working miners regarding mine safety. The agency states that coal bursts, roof falls and rib falls have resulted in the deaths of five continuous mining machine operators since 2013. The mining accidents have also caused injuries to 83 other types of operators.
The 2017 PROP program was initiated on July 6, 2017, and is expected to continue through September. Some of the best practices that MSHA inspectors will inform operators and miners of that can prevent roof falls accidents will include keeping track of the deterioration of coal ribs. To have the best protection against rib falls, rib bolts should be installed. Miners and operators should also adhere to the roof control plan to handle any issues that may arise.
Miners who are injured on the job should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, if an accident is caused by an employer’s reckless disregard of workplace safety, an attorney might see if filing a lawsuit against such employer instead of seeking workers’ compensation would be appropriate.