The first federal mandate on mining safety was passed way back in 1891. Since then, we’ve come a long way towards making the industry safer. Audits and inspections have a lot to do with that.
Imagine: 100 years ago, federal inspectors weren’t allowed to enter mines. In fact, it wasn’t until 1941 that Congress granted power to inspectors to conduct audits and inspections in the mining industry. Six years later, the first federal safety regulations for mining were established.
Other types of mines weren’t regulated until twenty years later, in 1966. For more than half a century, workers in the mining industry (and later on the metals industry) went pretty much unprotected. Here’s what happened when health and safety audits and inspections were introduced.
Why Audits and Inspections Are Needed
According to the CDC, there were over 12,000 coal fatalities between 1911-1915. By 1946, the first year the federal government established mining regulations, that number had dropped to around 4,500.
Graph courtesy of the CDC
As you can see on the graph, fatality rates took a deep nose-dive after 1969. What was responsible for that sudden improvement? The Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 correlates perfectly with the dramatic rate change.
In 1977, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 was passed by Congress. Now, all federal regulations on health and safety were housed under one roof. That included coal as well as non-coal mining industries. Miners’ rights were strengthened, too.
The result? During the next 23 years, mining fatalities dropped from 272 to 86.
#1 Reason: People Matter
Saving lives is a major reason we have audits and inspections. Workers’ health and safety are a top priority in any mining or metals environment. Staying on top of regulations with comprehensive EHS software designed expressly for this industry will help EHS managers fulfill their role in keeping everyone safe.
EHS Insight can help you save time and money with audit and inspections management. Get your free trial and discover quicker setup, fantastic support and better compliance going forward.