On 6 December, the US Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration marked National Miners Day. The date commemorates the worst industrial mine accident in American history when 362 miners perished in an explosion at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines in Monongah, West Virginia, on this date in 1907. The date is designated by Congress to honour the contributions and sacrifices of miners, past and present.
In the US today, nearly 375 000 miners extract almost 100 different kinds of minerals from the earth, including coal, gold, copper, silver, granite, limestone, granite, salt and gravel. All of these materials play critical roles in the quality of American lives. Coal heats and powers homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement beneath the nation's highways. Bridges that span canyons and rivers are built with ores, rock and mineral products extracted by miners. Thousands of common consumer goods, from cosmetics to toothpaste and from cookware to dinnerware, exist thanks to the hard work of miners.
"Miners and mining are vital to our economy," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labour for mine safety and health. "But even more, they are a key part of our nation's identity, representing fortitude, determination and spirit.
"It is MSHA's mission to see that those who choose to be a miner have the opportunity to go to work, put in their shift and return home each and every day, safe and healthy. They are the mining industry's most precious resource," he said.
Among recent and ongoing efforts by MSHA to protect miners' health and safety is the implementation of the new respirable coal dust rule aimed at preventing black lung disease and outreach initiatives such as fall protection, guarding and ladder safety for metal and nonmetal miners. Enhanced enforcement activities such as monthly impact inspections, the pattern of violations program, and miners' voice in the workplace have led to improved compliance and a decrease in violations.
Learn more about the contributions of miners at www.msha.gov/minersday.
Adapted from press release by Katherine Guenioui
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/10122014/msha-marks-national-miners-day-993/