MSHA: What’s the Real Impact of Fines on Mine Safety?

Late in 2014, MSHA made headlines when an investigation revealed that nearly $70 million in health and safety penalties had yet to be paid by mining company owners. The joint investigation by news agency NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that most of these unpaid penalties were between two and 10 years overdue.

In response to the pressure that followed this report, a federal investigation was launched that will focus on the penalty assessment and collection process at MSHA. More recently, a similar report by SNL Energy showed that U.S. coal producers owed more than $62 million in unpaid health and safety violations fines. Again, most of these citations were at least two years old. So why has MSHA not collected this money?

Typically, the process goes like this: MSHA issues a fine. Once the company has been notified, mine operators have 30 days to pay the fine. … Read more...

Sharing Best Practices in Mining Safety

In the world of environmental, health and safety, sharing information can have an amazing ripple effect across an industry. It gives companies the ability to learn from the experiences of other companies. In some cases, this can be the difference between life and death for workers, or it can prevent devastating environmental incidents. Overall, we are stronger when we work together towards EHS excellence.

More Collaboration Desired in Ontario Mining Sector

The mining sector is an example of an industry that stands to realize significant benefits if further information-sharing initiatives are implemented. However, sharing information can appear counter-intuitive for companies struggling to do business in a competitive market.

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” – Douglas Adams

Earlier this month, the results of a provincial mining safety review were


MSHA Raises the Alarm Regarding Mining Contractor Safety

There have already been four metal/nonmetal mine fatalities this year in the United States. Two of these (50%) were contractor fatalities, leading MSHA to release a safety alert that provides best practices to ensure the safety of contract miners. Hopefully there are lessons that can be learned from these tragedies that will help the industry improve its record on contractor safety and prevent future incidents in the coming year.

Contractor Fatalities and Safety Concerns

On January 8, 2015, a sales manager with 11 years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel mine when he was installing new screen panels on a screen deck; the feeder box pivoted and he was pinned between the box and the rear support beam of the screen deck. Just three days later, on January 11, 2015, a contract shaft miner with 35 years of experience was killed at an underground gold … Read more...

Canadian Gold Producer Agnico Eagle Cuts Accident Frequency Rate in Half

In 2011, Canadian gold producer Agnico Eagle Mines had an Accident Frequency Rate of 3.23 per 200,000 working hours. By 2014, they had cut that number down by more than half, reporting an Accident Frequency Rate of 1.48 at the end of the year. So, how did they do it?

By implementing best practices in accident management, engaging employees through collaboration, and demonstrating exceptional safety leadership among top management. They also relied on Intelex’s EHS Management software to support them in their new, streamlined approach to training, incidents, inspections and other critical business activities.

Committing to EHS Excellence

Agnico Eagle purchased Intelex EHS Management software in 2011, replacing their old Excel spreadsheets that had become inefficient. With Intelex’s centralized approach to training, incidents, inspections and other critical business activities, Agnico Eagle has streamlined communication across multiple divisions worldwide. They also simplified prioritization and decision-making by creating six unique dashboards, designed … Read more...

Agnico Eagle Mines Limited Takes Home the Intelex Performance Award for Safety Performance

Congratulations to Agnico Eagle Mines for their achievement of the Intelex Performance Award for Safety Performance. The Safety Performance award recognizes a client who has shown outstanding contributions towards organizational health and safety by using Intelex software.

Currently, Agnico Eagle Mines uses Intelex’s Incident Management application in four languages across eleven different divisions. They are also leveraging six separate dashboards from within the application. To date, Agnico has used Intelex to record more than 11,000 incidents, with over 800 corrective/preventative actions, showcasing their commitment to improving safety in their workforce. Thanks to Agnico Eagle’s hard work and dedication, they’ve reduced their Accident Frequency Rate from 3.23 in 2011 to 1.90 in 2014!… Read more...

Moodys report on water in mining, frontrunners to replace EPA chief suggest climate action and more on EHS This Week

On this week’s edition of EHS This Week we’ve got the week’s top stories in environment, health and safety news:

  • Credit-negative implications for mining industry according to Moodys report. 
  • New candidates in line to become EPA chief in the wake of Lisa Jackson’s resignation.
  • Pew poll cements growing public opinion trend related to support for clean energy and alternative fuels, and more.

Remember to write us with your suggestions, questions and comments at Also, if you are an industry expert and ever want to take part in the program, we’d love to have you. 

Until next week, enjoy the program!

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All in the family at Thyssen Mining

Intelex’s own Steph DiRaddo dropped by the head offices of Thyssen Mining (TMCC) in Regina, Saskatchewan last week, and she was blown away by the hospitality of the Thyssen “family”.

“It was incredible to see how welcoming the folks at Thyssen Mining are, and how tightly-knit a family environment they have created,” Steph remarked on her return. “We had dinner at a local restaurant that the Thyssen employees frequent, and they really made me feel like one of the family! I can’t wait to go back!”

As a member of Intelex’s training team, Steph visited TMCC to work with their safety team and train end users in advance of their go-live date in October. Thyssen is a leading mining contractor in the US and Canada and a world leader in shaft sinking.  … Read more...

Fisher minimizes environmental fines by implementing Intelex EMS

Fisher Sand and Gravel, a North Dakota-based aggregate producer, has reached a settlement agreement with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) after claims of air and water quality violation at some of its Arizona operations.

While Fisher received a fine in the settlement, more than half of the funds will not be collected by the ADEQ and instead directed to the implementation of an Intelex-powered Environmental Management System (EMS), which is expected to help the company avoid future violations and boost environmental stewardship. The EMS will feature a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing and improving the actions that Fisher undertakes to meet its business goals, and represents the company’s expanded commitment to environmental stewardship and the public health of the communities it serves.

The whole situation is a reminder of the fact that businesses can reduce the impact of fines by taking steps to proactively … Read more...

U.S. Lawmakers plan for tighter mine safety legislation

Mine safety legislation across the States is poised to get a new set of teeth.

Democrats are prepared to reveal the framework of a new bill to tighten mine safety and increase penalties for mines with a record of repeated safety violations after U.S. lawmakers reconvene on July 9. 

The bill follows the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in April when 29 miners were killed after an explosion at the West Virginia coal mine. The accident was the worst mining tragedy in the U.S. in four decades. The exact cause of the disaster is unknown, but the mine had a poor safety record and was cited for a number of safety infractions in the previous month. Last year, the mine was fined nearly $400,000 for serious safety violations relating mainly to ventilation and equipment, as well as poor execution of its safety plan. 

The Upper Big Branch disaster is not …