Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Mining
Miners and operators should take steps to prevent illness and spread of COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Our understanding of how the virus spreads is evolving as we learn more about it, so check the CDC website for the latest information and current list of symptoms. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
Recent studies indicate that the virus can be spread by people who are not showing symptoms. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow.
- To protect others, wear a cloth face covering to block respiratory droplets made by coughs, sneezes, talking, or breathing when you aren’t wearing your respiratory PPE.
- Put distance between yourself and others. Stay at least 6 feet away, which is about two arm’s length. This includes not crowding personnel carriers, hoists and elevators, or other means of transportation at a mine to maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and equipment.
- Continue wearing and properly cleaning your personal protective equipment (PPE). Facemasks should not be worn if the miner is wearing a tight-fitting respirator.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Other chronic lung disease, black lung, or silicosis
- Any condition that can suppress your immune system
- Serious heart conditions
- Chronic kidney disease or liver disease
- Severe obesity
- 65 years or older
- Have at least a 2-week supply (preferably a 90-day supply) of prescription and non-prescription medications. Talk to your healthcare provider, insurance company, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply of prescription medications, if possible, to reduce trips to the pharmacy.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up to date.
- Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying condition because of COVID-19.
- Do not travel unless you absolutely have to.
- Call your healthcare provider or local health department if you think you may have COVID-19 or if you have concerns about COVID-19 and your underlying conditions.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all COVID-19 symptoms. Please call your health care provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
- Call your healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, or clinic), or local health department if you think you may have COVID-19 or if you have concerns about COVID-19 and any underlying conditions.
- Stay home, except to get medical care, and avoid close contact with others.
- Separate yourself from other people and pets in your home.
- Monitor your symptoms. Follow the care instructions from your healthcare provider and your local health department.
- Keep taking your current medications, including those with steroids in them (“steroids” is another word for corticosteroids). Do not change your treatment plan or medications without talking to your doctor.
- Avoid triggers that make your symptoms worse.
If you develop any of the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19, call 911 and get medical help immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Can’t wake up or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Notify the operator that you have, or think you might have, COVID-19. If possible, put a cloth face covering on before medical help arrives.
Stay informed. Talk to your employer, supervisor, or union representative who are responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. See these sources for more information on worker exposures to COVID-19:
CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic
MSHA Response to COVID-19external iconexternal icon
CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)