MSHA Recommendations on Two Areas of Concern to Miners

SOURCE: MSHA | May 18, 2023


Heat and Ignition Hazard

Improperly applying large quantities of foam products to fill voids can cause underground mine fires. Polyurethane-based foam products will produce heat from an exothermic chemical reaction.

Best Practices:

  • Use the Proper ProductDo not fill large voids with foam products that generate a hazardous amount of heat.
  • Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions.
  • Train Miners. Train miners before handling and using foam, grout, and resin products, including potential heat hazards.
  • Educate Miners on Chemical Exposure Hazards. Provide miners with Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  • Foam Placement.Form used to support foam should be fire resistant or fire retardant.


Longwall Accidents

From January 2013 to March 2023, there have been 545 accidents on longwalls in underground coal mines, causing seven deaths and 333 serious injuries. These accidents occurred when miners were performing routine work such as shoveling coal, working on shields, moving equipment, installing bits on shear drums and installing supplemental ground support at the face and roof during recovery of longwall equipment.

Best Practices:

  • Follow the approved Roof Control Plan and train miners on the plan’s requirements.
  • Never travel or work under unsupported roof.
  • Examine the roof, face, and ribs, from a safe position.
  • Correct hazardous roof, face, or rib conditions before any work or travel is permitted in the affected area and during longwall recovery.
  • Be alert to changing roof/rib conditions especially during longwall recovery.
  • Install temporary roof support (posts, jacks, cribs) as required.

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