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Why We Use Impact Inspections to Protect Miners

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Title: Why We Use Impact Inspections to Protect Miners


Mining is a strenuous job that comes with numerous hazards, making it crucial to ensure the safety and wellbeing of miners. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is committed to employing impact inspections to enforce mandatory health and safety standards in various mining operations across the United States. This blog post explores the significance of impact inspections and how they are vital in safeguarding miners from preventable accidents and illnesses.

The Purpose of Impact Inspections:

Impact inspections differ from regular inspections in that they focus on mines with a history of safety and health standard violations. By concentrating on these mines, MSHA aims to address the root causes of accidents and occupational illnesses promptly. The specific triggers for conducting impact inspections are as follows:

1. Pattern of violations: When a mine repeatedly violates safety and health standards.
2. Significant & Substantial (S&S) citations: Mining operations with a history of S&S citations during regular inspections.
3. Compliance concerns: Concerns raised during planned inspections or through complaints received.

Effectiveness of Impact Inspections:

The impact inspections are particularly effective because they target mines with a proven track record of non-compliance. Rather than waiting for accidents to occur, the focus is on proactively identifying and rectifying potential hazards. For example, if a mine consistently fails to properly guard belt conveyor components, an impact inspection will specifically assess the presence and maintenance of guards on every belt conveyor in the mine.

Results of Impact Inspections:

The outcomes of impact inspections are made public the following month on the MSHA website. Between January and August, over 1,900 violations were uncovered. These violations ranged from electrical hazards and lack of machine guarding to inadequate ventilation and accumulated combustible materials, among others. By consistently exposing violations, MSHA aims to create a safer environment for miners and hold mine operators accountable for their compliance.


The Mine Safety and Health Administration remains dedicated to utilizing every available tool to protect miners’ safety and health. Impact inspections have proven to be an effective means of enforcing compliance with mandatory health and safety standards. By targeting mines with repeated violations, MSHA aims to address the root causes of accidents and occupational illnesses in a timely manner. The results of these inspections are made publicly available, ensuring transparency and industry accountability.

By leveraging impact inspections, MSHA aims to eliminate well-known safety and health hazards in the mining industry that can cost miners their lives. It is a collective responsibility for mine operators, regulators, and the mining community as a whole to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of miners.

Together, we can make a significant impact in minimizing workplace accidents and illnesses, and ensure that every miner returns home safely to their loved ones.

1. Mine Safety and Health Administration. “Why We Use Impact Inspections to Protect Miners.” URL:
2. Mine Safety and Health Administration. “Significant & Substantial (S&S) and Pattern of Violations (POV) Calculators.” URL:

Stay tuned for more updates on occupational safety and health in the mining industry by following MSHA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Author:
Sam Creasy is the district manager in the Barbourville District office. With extensive experience in mine safety, he is committed to promoting best practices and ensuring the safety of miners in the United States. Connect with Sam on LinkedIn.

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