Twenty mining operations have been honored for their outstanding 2007 safety records through the annual Sentinels of Safety awards program co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association.
Mining companies in various operational categories were recognized for achieving the greatest numbers of employee work hours in 2007 without a fatal injury or an injury that resulted in lost workdays. Each also had a no-workdays-lost incidence rate less than the national average for its group. To qualify, a company had to compile at least 4,000 employee work hours during the year.
"The 20 operations we are recognizing made some extraordinary achievements during 2007," said Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "All together, these operations worked 2,891,449 hours without a lost-time injury in their operations.
'To put that in perspective, that would be an operation with over 1,400 employees working an entire year without a lost-time injury. That is an impressive number, and a big step toward eliminating injuries," he added. "Other companies would do well to emulate these operations' safety records."
Stickler delivered his comments today at an awards ceremony hosted by the National Mining Association during the trade group's MINExpo INTERNATIONAL 2008 exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada.
According to MSHA data, nearly half of the total number of operating mines in the United States worked completely injury-free for the entire year. Specifically, 7,229 mines – out of 14,579 operating mines in this country – worked without a single lost-time or restricted injury throughout 2007. Furthermore, 4,219 of those mines that participated in the 2007 Sentinels of Safety program worked 88,754,777 employee hours with no lost-time injuries.
The Sentinels of Safety Award is the oldest established award for occupational safety. The first one was announced by President Herbert Hoover, a former mining engineer, when he was secretary of commerce in 1925. In 2004, the awards criteria were revised to allow two additional groups as well as smaller operations a chance to participate.
Competition winners and mining operations recognized for their safety records in 2007 are listed on the Internet at http://www.msha.gov/SentinelsofSafety/Awards/2008Sentinel/2007sentinelsofsafety.asp.