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MSHA Safety Alert Posted - Winter Safety Alert



December 6, 2017 - MSHA has announced its annual Winter Alert campaign, reminding miners and mine operators of the increased hazards that colder weather creates at both surface and underground coal mines. The Winter Alert campaign, which runs each year through March, emphasizes increased vigilance and adherence to safety principles during the winter months, when cold temperatures increase hazards for miners.  Throughout the Winter Alert campaign, MSHA personnel regularly visit mines around the country to heighten awareness of the changing conditions that occur during winter months, and will distribute materials that focus on best practices for safely performing miners’ jobs.

Winter Safety Alert - Surface Coal Mines

Examinations are your first line of defense

  • Check highwalls, benches, and roadways, especially after each rain, freeze or thaw
  • Examine equipment for exhaust leaks
  • Maintain equipment to operate safely in winter weather



  • Remove snow and ice
  • Allow ample space between vehicles
  • Slow down and be patient



  • Keep clear of ice and snow
  • Remove all slip and trip hazards
  • Apply sand to maintain traction
  • Wear foot gear that grips


Winter Safety Alert - Underground Coal Mines


Examinations are your first line of defense

  • Check for methane, check methane monitors
  • Check ventilation controls
  • Check permissibility
  • Clean up accumulations of combustible material
  • Check water sprays and cutting bits on the continuous mining machine



  • Know your ventilation plan: sufficient to dilute and render harmless explosive, noxious gases, dusts and fumes
  • Maintain ventilation controls
  • Maintain bleeders free of roof falls and water


Rock Dust

  • Keep bleeder entries well rock dusted
  • Use mechanical means to regularly apply rock dust in inaccessible worked-out areas
  • Maintain 80% rock dust in all areas
  • Rock dust within 40 feet of faces
  • Rock dust downwind of mining
  • Continuously rock dust longwall tailgate and immediate return