U.S. aims to cut mining fatalities to zero

An ambitious safety initiative has been announced in the U.S. which aims to completely cut all mine site fatalities.

The voluntary program comes just days ahead of the two year anniversary of the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The program was reportedly in development prior to the incident.

To date close to 30 mining companies have promised to follow this program which has been dubbed CORESafety.

The initiative has been developed by the National Mining Association and is focused on workplace health and safety, and is a scalable safety and health management system specifically designed for U.S. mining operations.

It is a 20 step program focusing on management systems.

CORESafety looks at the additional training of managers, improving ways of identifying and addressing safety hazards of existing mines, setting engineering standards for new mines and making sure that contractors adhere to enhanced safety guidelines.

NMA claim that is it a pathway to eliminate fatalities and reduce the rate of mining injuries by 50% within five years.

The program "relied on a working group of mine safety professionals that incorporated elements of leadership and culture—which are essential for safety excellence—in a system that is adaptable to the operations of all mining companies and designed to complement existing safety practices," the Association says.

"The system stresses continuous improvement in safety and health and demonstrates the determination and commitment of U.S. mining leaders to remain a model for the world."

A spokesperson for the NMA stated that "we realised we had to do a better job and this is a way to enlist everyone in this effort.

"There has to be a culture of safety, and that’s what can be achieved here."

The program has seen the full back of Peabody Energy chairman Gregory Boyce, who is also the chair of the NMA.

"We have collaborated to design a system that provides a pathway for achieving breakthrough performance in safety by our industry and serves as a model both in the United States and globally," Boyce said.

This year, the U.S. mining industry has already counted ten fatalities on site, almost reaching a third of all deaths recorded last year.

However it did record a massive drop in injuries, seeing a 30% drop in 2010 compared 2004.

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