December 4, 2017 - December 6 has been designated by MSHA as National Miners Day. With everything else happening in the mining and regulatory arena, the event has not yet been well publicized. Many of the folks may be unaware of the designation. One may even question what we should do about it. I have some suggestions.
1) Make color copies of the poster accompanying this memo in your email and place them prominently (ASAP) on bulletin boards around the operation.
2) Celebrate the event. Spring for doughnuts, pizza or burritos for the crew. Take a few minutes to reflect on the importance of mining in this nation -- our important contribution to the American way of life. Consider the importance of health and safety in all that we do both at work and away from work.
3) Conduct a special safety meeting. Consider each of our motives for working safely and for helping one another work safely. Re-commit to safety excellence.
Below is a list of mine disasters that occurred in New Mexico over the years. It was compiled from information maintained by NIOSH. Note that the last recorded mine disaster in New Mexico was in March of 1954—more than 63-years ago.
New Mexico Mine Disasters
4) Visit the MSHA website and review some of the history. Look at the photographs depicting the conditions that miners worked under. Look at the photographic history of mine rescue. Play back some of the vintage training videos preserved on the MSHA website.
5) Finally, consider what the state of mining (mine safety) might look like 25 years from now; 50 years from now. What will those miners think when they look back on the history of mining circa 2017?
Will fatal injuries be a rarity?
What role will automation play?
What new uses will be discovered for mined materials?
How will the current generation of young miners contribute to the future state of mining?