MSHA Surface Mining Hazards Overview

This course is designed to achieve a general awareness of the health and safety hazards that exist at surface mine sites and provides some best practices.

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced
Course Length: 2 Hours

What you'll learn

  • Introduction to the MSHA Surface Mining Hazards Overview Training Course
  • Health Hazards
  • Inhalation Hazards
  • Physical Hazards
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Operations Hazards
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Risk Assessment
  • Hazard Reporting

Course Description

This surface mining hazards course is designed to help you achieve a general awareness of the health and safety hazards that exist at surface mine sites and provides some best practices for accident prevention during normal daily operations at surface mines. It also outlines the MSHA safety requirements for assessing and avoiding or managing those hazards.

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

Course Outline

MSHA Surface Mining Hazards Overview Course Outline

About This Course

Course Objectives

Introduction to the MSHA Surface Mining Hazards Overview Training Course

  • Accident Statistics
  • General Causes of Mining Accidents
  • Applicability
  • Key Terms and Definitions
  • Site-specific Hazard Awareness Training
  • Recordkeeping

Health Hazards

  • Health Hazards Overview

Inhalation Hazards

  • Dust Exposure
  • Gases and Vapors

Physical Hazards

  • Noise Exposure Overview
  • Noise Intensity and Maximum Daily Exposure
  • Noise Exposure Levels
  • Vibration White Finger
  • Fires
  • Heat Stress
  • Falls, Slips, and Trips
  • Ergonomical Hazards

Hazardous Materials

  • Explosives
  • Storage of Explosive Material
  • Other Resources
  • Hazard Communication

Operations Hazards

  • Transportation Hazards
  • Traffic Signs and Warning Signals
  • Dumping Hazards
  • Equipment Hazards
  • Crushing and Screening
  • Belt Conveyors
  • Welding and Cutting Hazards
  • Equipment Inspections
  • Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)

Environmental Hazards

  • Damage to Land
  • Damage to Water Sources
  • Surface Mining Reclamation
  • Surface Mining Reclamation-Backfilling

Risk Assessment

  • SLAM – Risk Management for Miners
  • SMART – Risk Management for Operators
  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Controls

Hazard Reporting

  • Dirty Dozen
  • Surface Mine Inspections


Additional Resources


Frequently Asked Questions

Who must take this training?

This MSHA Surface Mining Hazards Overview online training course is targeted at operators, supervisors, safety personnel, and all other individuals who work at surface mines.

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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