What does MSHA stand for?

MSHA stands for Mine Safety and Health Administration. It is a governmental agency of the US Department of Labor. MSHA is responsible for administering provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. They also enforce compliance of the various laws and regulations that are written for mining companies and those that work for them. Their main goal is to reduce or eliminate mining accidents in general, and especially fatal accidents. They also work to reduce any type of negative health hazard associated with mining.

MSHA & Incident Reporting

Another important thing that MSHA does is manage the reporting of accidents and other incidents that occur in mines. Companies are required to file a report for any type of accident that meets the set criteria. This would include any accidents that are fatal, cause serious injury, and other things such as:

  • Incidents where there was a reasonable possibility that someone could have died.
  • An incident where someone was trapped for more than 30 minutes.
  • An incident that resulted in an unplanned ignition or explosion of either gas or dust in or near the mine.
  • An incident where there was an unplanned mine fire that lasted for at least 30 minutes after it was discovered.
  • An event where an outburst of rock or coal resulted in miners to have to evacuate the mine for more than an hour.
  • An incident where the roof falls in unexpectedly.

There are other situations where mining companies are required to report to MSHA. Once the report is filed, MSHA will look into the facts surrounding the event to determine what, if anything could have been done differently to prevent it from happening in the future. The information they learn may be used in future regulations or documents that they publish to help companies improve their overall safety levels.


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