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Stay Out, Stay Alive: Active and abandoned mine sites are dangerous, potentially fatal

Stay Out, Stay Alive. Exploring or playing at active and abandoned mine sites is dangerous. Each year, dozens of people are injured or killed while exploring, swimming or playing at a mine property. Active and abandoned mine sites all pose serious risks to people untrained and unfamiliar with the site.  

Mine sites pose risks to anyone not qualified or adequately protected, such as: 

  • Water-filled quarries and pits hide rock ledges, machinery, electrical currents and other hazards. The water may look refreshing but can be deceptively deep and dangerously cold. Steep, slippery walls can make exiting the water difficult.  

  • Hills of loose material around quarries or mines could easily collapse on an unsuspecting biker or climber.  

  • Many vertical shafts can be hundreds of feet deep and completely unprotected or hidden by vegetation. 

  • Abandoned mine shafts can unexpectedly collapse.  

For trespassers, hazards are not always apparent and can be deadly. 

The men and women who work in our nation's mines are trained to work safely and understand the risks and landscapes of the mines where they work. At abandoned sites, only trained experts have the expertise and proper equipment to visit when necessary. 

As students return to school while the weather is still warm and water seems inviting, it is more important than ever to remind people to stay out of abandoned or active mine sites like quarries, tunnels and pits.  

Water quarry.
Water-filled quarries and pits hide rock ledges, machinery, electrical currents, and other hazards. The water may look refreshing but can be deceptively deep and dangerously cold. Steep, slippery walls can make exiting the water difficult. 

Visit MSHA’s resource page to learn more about abandoned mine and quarry accidents. Please help us raise awareness about this summertime danger.  

Most importantly, remind people to Stay Out, Stay Alive!

 

Stephen Gigliotti is Chief of Safety for Mine Safety and Health Enforcement at MSHA 

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