MSHA recently spotlighted its protocol for mine emergencies on social media.
First, the agency stressed that all mine operators in the U.S. are required by law to report mining accidents immediately – within 15 minutes of then the operator knew or should have known about the accident. To report an accident, the toll-free number is 1-800-746-1553 and is staffed 24 hours a day.
Hazardous conditions may be also reported anonymously by calling the same number, or online via MSHA’s Hazardous Condition Complaint system.
MSHA defines an accident as:
- A death of an individual at a mine;
- An injury to an individual at a mine which has a reasonable potential to cause death;
- An entrapment of an individual for more than 30 minutes or which has a reasonable potential to cause death;
- An unplanned inundation of a mine by a liquid or gas;
- An unplanned ignition or explosion of gas or dust;
- In underground mines, an unplanned fire not extinguished within 10 minutes of discovery; in surface mines and surface areas of underground mines, an unplanned fire not extinguished within 30 minutes of discovery;
- An unplanned ignition or explosion of a blasting agent or an explosive;
- An unplanned roof fall at or above the anchorage zone in active workings where roof bolts are in use; or, an unplanned roof or rib fall in active workings that impairs ventilation or impedes passage;
- A coal or rock outburst that causes withdrawal of miners or which disrupts regular mining activity for more than one hour;
- An unstable condition at an impoundment, refuse pile, or culm bank which requires emergency action in order to prevent failure, or which causes individuals to evacuate an area; or, failure of an impoundment, refuse pile, or culm bank;
- Damage to hoisting equipment in a shaft or slope which endangers an individual or which interferes with use of the equipment for more than 30 minutes; and
- An event at a mine which causes death or bodily injury to an individual not at the mine at the time the event occurs.
It adds that callers and online reporters provide as much information as possible, including the name of the mine and the mine operator, as well as its location.