According to federal data, there have been 24 deaths in U.S. mines between January 2000 and May 2014 that occurred as a result of retreat mining practices.
The agency has stressed, in order to keep further incidents from occurring, that miners never travel in by roof supports or into red zone areas and to limit workers’ exposure at retreat areas by limiting the number of individuals in the vicinity.
From an inspection perspective, MSHA is asking operations to conduct thorough examinations of the roof, face and ribs both immediately before work as well as following work duties, and to also be alert for changing conditions and quickly respond to reduce and eliminate hazards. When loose roof material is discovered, it should be scaled from a safe location using proper tools.
Finally, officials said, all mines should know and follow their respective roof control plans (RCPs), including approved pillaring procedures, and propose revisions to the RCP when conditions indicate current outlines may no longer be effective.