DEP Commends Underground Mining Industry for Safety; Over Five Years Since Last Fatality

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) yesterday announced that it has been over five years since the last fatality occurred at a Pennsylvania underground mining operation.

This includes anthracite, bituminous and industrial minerals underground mines throughout the state.

“Pennsylvania’s underground mining operations have gone an unprecedented five years without a fatality,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “I am proud of the work being done by DEP’s Bureau of Mine Safety, the mining industry and labor groups to ensure the continued safety of these hard working Pennsylvanians.”

DEP’s Bureau of Mine Safety hosts in-house miner training about first aid techniques, emergency response, gas detection awareness, ventilation, self-contained breathing apparatus, blasting awareness and CPR.

Coal mine operators are required by law to report all accidents, or unanticipated events, to DEP’s Bureau of Coal Mine Safety within 15 minutes of occurrence. This information provides insight on what can be done to prevent similar accidents.

“The mining industry’s skilled workforce, improved industry practices, and DEP oversight have played a crucial role in this safety achievement,” DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko said.

The last underground mining-related fatality occurred in the bituminous region 63 months ago on June 23, 2009. It has been 75 months in the anthracite region and 73 months in the industrial minerals region since the last underground fatality.

Nationwide, there were 14 work-related fatalities in underground coal mines in 2013 and there are seven fatalities to date in 2014, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s fourth-largest coal-producing state. In 2013, it produced more than 67.1 million tons of coal, 46.7 million tons of which came from underground mines. The underground mining industry employs more than 5,600 Pennsylvanians.

For more information on underground mine safety, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Mine Safety.”


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