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Essential Trainings for Surface Mining Workers and How To Get Them MSHA-Approved

Mining fatalities have steadily decreased since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started recording in 1983. Twenty-nine fatalities were recorded in 2020 compared to over 200 in 1984.

Most of the progress seen in underground and surface mining is better training, protocols, and health regulations. Keeping your miners safe through regular training can lower fatality and injury numbers.

MSHA also requires that businesses develop training plans specific to your surface mining site, so how do you get started? We have put together a complete guide on training for miners and the benefits of starting today, so keep reading for more information!

Dangers of Surface Mining

Surface miners are at risk for respiratory illnesses, such as lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). They are also at risk for fatal falls, machinery misuse, and powered haulage incidents.

Other dangers include hearing loss from machinery and exposure to airborne dust particles. These dust particles can lead to pneumoconiosis. Many of the machinery and equipment miners operate are diesel-fueled, putting added health risks if workers have been exposed to diesel fumes for more than five years.

Symptoms of overexposure to diesel engines include:

  • Nose irritation
  • Airway inflammation
  • Declining lung function

Some ways to mitigate these risks are incorporating better engineering controls that reduce emissions. Proper training and implementation of safety guidelines are critical for employees before starting their job.

Surface Mining Classifications and Examples

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes mining involving quarrying, operations, milling, and other preparations. OSHA has four miner classification levels:

  1. Metal mining
  2. Coal mining
  3. Oil and gas extraction
  4. Nonmetallic minerals

Training for mining incorporates underground and surface miners. The main difference between them is only the topsoil and bedrock are removed with surface mining. It eliminates the need for underground tunnels.

Most surface miners are looking for large ore deposits. As an example, in the Appalachians, surface coal mining is used. This process removes parts of the mountaintops.

After, it disposes of the excess into the valleys below. The entire process involves heavy machinery such as:

  • Dragline excavator
  • Dozer
  • Auger

Since the surface bedrock is removed, workers are at increased exposure to dust or airborne particles.

What Is MSHA?

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) must approve surface training for miners. It was created in 1978 and is now classified under the U.S. Department of Labor.

MSHA outlines various rules and regulations for miner safety and health. It helps educate and instruct on safe work environments and aims to reduce mining fatalities and injuries. MSHA tries to accomplish this by minimizing work health hazards and equipment testing.

Online Mining Training

Mining training involves completing safety courses that have MSHA approval. You can complete mining training online for surface and underground miners.

At Compliance Online Training, we offer courses for all types of miners that meet MSHA approval and provide a valid certification upon completion. The training for mining courses includes constructing a specific plan for your surface mining site. MSHA training helps workers:

  • Identify hazards
  • Minimize exposure to hazards
  • Emergency procedures
  • First aid instruction
  • Miners' rights responsibilities
  • Electrical safety concerns
  • Materials handling

MSHA requires up-to-date certifications and coursework at mine sites. This includes contractors and new employees. Online training courses can also help with MSHA training plans.

To remain MSHA-compliant, each company must include approved training plans implemented by competent individuals. The MSHA Part 46 online certification fulfills part of the requirements for your outlined plan.

This can save you time and money looking by streamlining the training process.

New Hire Courses

One of the more popular MSHA courses is the new hire course, encompassing experienced miners switching or starting jobs. Some of the basic topics covered include:

  • Common causes of injuries
  • Surface mining regulations
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Rights and responsibilities

At a minimum, the course will take four hours to complete. The benefit of choosing online mining training is your employees can bookmark progress and take longer to complete them, if needed. In total, new miners must complete 24 hours of training.

After completing the minimum four hours, they can begin work. Surface miners must also adhere to annual retraining (more on refresher courses below).

As a note - companies must have MSHA-approved training plans. Competent individuals can only administer these plans, and Compliance Training Online courses can be used as part of that plan.

MSHA-Approved Training Plan

MSHA-approved training plans are for employers, organizations, and businesses. This coursework is for operators, supervisors, and other personnel.

An online course helps you design a unique mining plan for your organization. It will help you address:

  • Mine details
  • Identification of persons involved
  • Evaluation procedures
  • Teaching methods

After constructing a plan, you will have better safety and mining health regulations for employees.

Surface Mining Refresher Courses

All on-site surface miners must take annual MSHA-approved refresher courses. At a minimum, refresher courses take two hours to complete.

Yet, you will need eight hours of annual retraining to comply with MSHA standards. Some of the topics that may be covered include:

  • Health hazards
  • Protective measures
  • HAZCOM program
  • Transportation controls
  • Communication systems
  • Emergency plans
  • Night work
  • Electrical hazards
  • And more

Refresher courses also highlight surface mining duties and machinery that pose the highest safety risk. These can include service trucks, front-end loaders, cranes, and excavators. Protocols and plans are constantly changing, and a miner must remain up to date on the latest changes.

Start MSHA Training Today

Have you wondered the best way to implement surface mining training? Miners face unprecedented risks and hazards on the job. New and returning employees must have adequate training and sites with MSHA-approved plans.

At Compliance Training Online, we specialize in various online courses that meet MSHA standards. We can help you target function-specific tasks, new hires, and develop MSHA training plans.

Are you ready to get started? Check out our website for more information on our complete course catalog.



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