ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- The Mine Safety and Health Administration is warning mine operators about the increased safety risks brought on by winter weather.
Statistics show that deadly mine explosions historically occur more often during October through March than during warmer periods.
According to MSHA, lower barometric pressures and low humidity coupled with seasonal drying of surfaces on mine roofs, ribs and bottom increase the chances of an explosion. Other potential hazards are icy walkways and haulage roads, limited visibility and freezing and thawing of highwalls, which causes instability.
MSHA recommends several precautions. They include thorough examinations, sufficient ventilation, adequate rock dusting and maintaining escape routes.