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  • Michael Peelish, Esq.

MSHA Develops Set of Health Hazard Pocket Cards

How many times have miners attended a training class and were frankly bored out of their minds or did not want to be there because they know it all or you know the rest of the excuses which gives MSHA training a bad name. Well, what if you reviewed and/or developed useful cards during training to address the different safety and health hazards associated with their jobs? What if you got the miners involved in developing a surface mobile equipment program? What if you provided the work developed during training to the miners in the form of a pocket card to remind them of what they learned or already know. The opportunities to get the most out of training only requires a willingness on the party of management to engage their employees in a different way.


Well, MSHA has developed an extensive set of pocket cards with safety and health in mind to assist operators. Nice job MSHA! These Best Practice cards provide DOs and DON’Ts established to keep miners and their co-workers out of harm’s way, and provide important information operators and miners need to know to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses. MSHA has posted several dozens of these cards regarding coal and MNM on its webpage (see https://www.msha.gov/msha-best-practice-and-health-hazard-cards) for operators and miners to use. These cards provide a good starting point for operators to begin the process of customizing their own cards to address safety and health topics just as they address production issues. The best part about these cards is that the miners can have this information at their fingertips inside the cab or attached to a pole in plant or in the maintenance shop or wherever the work is being performed.


The reality is that if miners are involved in creating the work product that drives their daily work activities,

they are more likely to remember the DOs and the DON’Ts of performing the work. Try this approach at your next training session. Have the miners pick a safety and health topic that concerns them, or you could suggest developing a surface mobile equipment safety plan, since a final rule will be forthcoming soon. Then facilitate an exercise where the miners develop the content of the program. Use this discussion to finalize a draft program with management and share with miners. The final step is to gather all comments and rollout the new program with the miners. And then watch the enthusiasm, and thus compliance, take over.


Having had oversight for global safety and health operations for over 19 years in both coal and MNM mines, this process was the one way to gain buy in from the folks who are impacted the most by what management does – the miners.


As you may know, our firm has competencies in drafting safety and health programs and in facilitating operators and employers in developing their own safety and health programs.

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