The Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with the PA Coal Alliance, Thursday launched a new safety campaign that urges coal miners not to take shortcuts that could lead to dangerous consequences while on the job.
A new video, introduced by Gov.Tom Wolf, debuted at Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Coal Mine Safety in Ebensburg, Cambria County.
“Safety of our miners is paramount and requires a team effort by government, industry and our mine workers,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “DEP, through rigorous inspections, regular safety training by mining companies and adherence to safety procedures by employees will make our mines safe for our men and women who work underground.”
Since January 2015, four Pennsylvanians lost their lives while working in mining operations.
The campaign, “Safety First, No Shortcuts,” urges Pennsylvania’s thousands of mine workers to make safety their number one priority. The PA Coal Alliance and DEP will make the video available to mining companies to share with their workers before they enter a mine.
“PCA is pleased to partner with DEP in this campaign to raise miner’s awareness of potential safety issues,” PCA CEO John Pippy said. “PCA member companies place the highest priority on ensuring the safety for the men and women working underground, and are committed to continually enhancing training and technology to reduce the risk of accidents.”
The video emphasizes these safety tips:
1. Don’t cut corners. Shortcuts endanger you and your coworkers.
2. Maintain escape-ways and know your way out!
3. Frequently check for methane.
4. Report unsafe conditions to a Pennsylvania-certified mine official.
5. And finally, watch over and mentor apprentice miners.
Pennsylvania currently has 53 underground bituminous, anthracite and industrial mineral mines in operation.
Since 2014, DEP has investigated 110 accidents. About 30 percent of those accidents resulted in injuries that ranged from minor to fatal. The three fatalities that occurred since January 2015 were preceded by a more than five-and-a-half-year period where no deaths occurred.
The Board of Coal Mine Safety is a seven-member board that develops safety standards and regulations, and consists of three representatives each of the United Mine Workers of America and coal mining companies operating in Pennsylvania's bituminous coal fields. It is chaired by the Secretary of DEP.For more information, visit DEP’s Bureau of Mine Safety webpage.