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Longwall Incidents Spur MSHA Alert



May 26, 2023 - In response to more than 500 incidents on longwalls in underground coal mines over the past decade, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert.

From January 2013 to this past March, MSHA recorded 545 incidents on longwalls, resulting in seven deaths and 333 serious injuries. The incidents occurred “when miners were performing routine work,” including shoveling coal, working on shields, moving equipment, installing bits on shear drums, and installing supplemental ground support at the face and roof while recovering longwall equipment.

Agency best practices for mitigating longwall incidents:

  • Follow the approved roof control plan and train miners on the plan’s requirements.
  • Never travel or work under an 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 – including posts, jacks and cribs – as required.