At the Mine Safety and Health Administration, our primary mission is to help ensure that miners can go to work each day and return home to their families and communities safe and healthy. In addition to enforcing the Mine Act, part of our role is to provide education, training, and safety and health information to miners. We are proud and excited to announce that we have developed a phone app that will allow us to get information directly to miners.
Traditionally, miners have received safety and health information from several sources, including their unions, miners’ representatives, their mine’s safety office or managers, training programs, MSHA inspectors, and industry stakeholder groups. Although those remain important avenues to reach miners, technology has made it possible for miners to research information directly and from the palms of their hands.
We hope that our innovative app will empower miners and help them play active roles in mine safety and health. That is why the app features a comprehensive guide of how to file a discrimination complaint, includes information about Part 90 transfer rights for coal miners who have already developed a pneumoconiosis such as black lung disease, and allows miners to report accidents and hazards with just the push of a couple buttons.
Miners can use this new tool at mine sites and outside of their working hours to better understand their rights and responsibilities as miners, to research and adopt best safety and health practices, and to receive notifications of mining accidents – and how to prevent them. As presented in our “Take Time, Save Lives” campaign, many accidents can be prevented by taking just a few minutes to focus on a task.
However, we must all remember that even with the availability of new technology and informational resources, the Mine Act is clear that mine operators have the primary responsibility to maintain safe and healthy working conditions and provide regular and thorough training to miners.
This technology is the result of countless conversations, feedback from miners, labor unions, and industry representatives, and the tireless work of many MSHA and Department of Labor employees. We look forward to working to make the app even better as we collect additional feedback from users across the nation.
For more information, visit www.MSHA.gov/MinerApp
Chris Williamson is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.