MSHA Surface Mining Confined Spaces

This course is designed to help the surface miner achieve a general awareness of the health and safety hazards that exist in confined spaces.

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Course Length: 2 Hours

What you'll learn

  • Introduction to the MSHA Surface Mining Confined Spaces Training Course
  • Overview of Confined Spaces
  • Atmospheric Hazards
  • Physical Hazards
  • Confined Space Hazard Control

Course Description

This course is designed to help the surface miner achieve a general awareness of the health and safety hazards that exist in confined spaces at surface mine sites. This course highlights various hazards found in confined spaces at surface mine sites and provides best practices for accident prevention during operations in such spaces. The course is designed for operators, supervisors, safety personnel, and all other individuals who work at surface mines.

The Surface Mining Confined Spaces online course consists of content, graphics, audio, self-check questions, and a final exam.

Course Outline

MSHA Surface Mining Confined Spaces Course Outline

About This Course

Course Objectives

Introduction to the MSHA Surface Mining Confined Spaces Training Course

  • Regulatory Agencies
  • Record Keeping
  • Accident Statistics
  • Applicability
  • Key Terms and Definitions

Overview of Confined Spaces

  • Types of Confined Spaces: Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS)
  • Types of Confined Spaces: Non-Permit-required Confined Space
  • Entry Requirements and Responsibilities
  • Confined Space Program Requirements
  • Confined Space Permit
  • Elements of a Confined Space Permit
  • Pre-Entry Preparation

Atmospheric Hazards

  • Classification of Atmospheric Hazards
  • Oxygen-Deficient Atmospheres
  • Flammable Atmospheres
  • Toxic Atmospheres
  • Atmospheric Testing and Monitoring

Physical Hazards

  • Engulfment
  • Equipment Hazards
  • Electrical Hazards
  • Temperature Extremes
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Radiation
  • Wet Surfaces
  • Psychological Hazards

Confined Space Hazard Control

  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Controls
  • Emergency Response Plan
  • Fire Safety
  • Respiratory Equipment
  • Isolating Hazardous Energy
  • Purging
  • Ventilation


Additional Resources


Frequently Asked Questions

Who must take this training?

Significant hazards exist in confined spaces at surface mine sites. In order to moderate them, miners and other individuals who work on mine sites must acquire a better understanding of the risks and hazards of working in a confined space as well as the associated preventative procedures and behaviors.

How often is retraining or recertification required?

According to MSHA 30 CFR § 46.8:

Annual refresher training.

  • You must provide each miner with no less than 8 hours of annual refresher training:
    • No later than 12 months after the miner begins work at the mine, or no later than March 30, 2001, whichever is later; and
    • Thereafter, no later than 12 months after the previous annual refresher training was completed.
      The refresher training must include instruction on changes at the mine that could adversely affect the miner’s health or safety.
  • Refresher training must also address other health and safety subjects that are relevant to mining operations at the mine. Recommended subjects include, but are not limited to: applicable health and safety requirements, including mandatory health and safety standards; information about the physical and health hazards of chemicals in the miner’s work area, the protective measures a miner can take against these hazards, and the contents of the mine’s HAZCOM program; transportation controls and communication systems; escape and emergency evacuation plans, firewarning and firefighting; ground conditions and control; traffic patterns and control; working in areas of highwalls; water hazards, pits, and spoil banks; illumination and night work; first aid; electrical hazards; prevention of accidents; health; explosives; and respiratory devices. Training is also recommended on the hazards associated with the equipment that has accounted for the most fatalities and serious injuries at the mines covered by this rule, including mobile equipment (haulage and service trucks, front-end loaders and tractors); conveyor systems; cranes; crushers; excavators; and dredges. Other recommended subjects include maintenance and repair (use of hand tools and welding equipment); material handling; fall prevention and protection; and working around moving objects (machine guarding).

What are the governing regulations?

MSHA specializes in enforcing health and safety legislation in mining, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implements safety and health legislation across all industries. So although there is a separation of powers, MSHA and OSHA work in tandem to develop compatible safety and health standards for miners. The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Health and Safety (H&S) Department monitors both OSHA and MSHA to ensure that each is enforcing effective rules and regulations to protect the health and safety of miners.

Navigation Strategies

Beginners: Complete the course in order from beginning to end. Once any topic is completed, you will have full access to it at any time for one year after registration, to use as a resource.

Intermediate/Advanced Users: Use the course as a flexible resource tool to find what you need, whenever you need it. Try the assessment tests first, if you get 80%+ you can move to the next level, if you get less than 80% you should complete the lecture. This gives you a pre and post-assessment score, which can be used to track your skills improvements.

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