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Obey the Signs: Avoiding Unsupported Roof.

Peters RF
Mines Eng Safety Bull Sept 1991 :8-14
The number of deaths due to roof falls has steadily decreased over the past 40 years as a result of improved equipment design, increased automation, and better compliance with mine safety laws and company policies. In most years, however, roof fall accidents are still the leading cause of fatalities in the underground coal mining industry. Statistics from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) indicate that during 1984-88, 106 coal miners were killed by falls of roof and rib, and another 4,135 miners were injured. The U.S. Bureau of Mines' accident cost indicator model was used to estimate the total costs of fatal and lost-time underground coal mining accidents during 1987. Fatal roof fall accidents accounted for a major portion of the total costs of mining accidents. Worse, about 47 pct of the fatal accidents were in areas of unsupported roof. These statistics clearly indicate that there is a great need to encourage miners to avoid such areas. Various strategies have been used to convince employees to avoid unsafe acts and adopt self-protective behavior. This article evaluates the potential of five such strategies to discourage miners from going under unsupported roof: incentives and feedback, disciplinary action, fear communication, employee participation, and expression of management concern.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 253-91
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Mines Eng. Safety Bull., Sept. 1991, PP. 8-14
Page last reviewed: December 30, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division