Winter Safety Checklist for Mines

A light snowfall blankets surface equipment at a mine, including silos and a conveyor system.

At the Mine Safety and Health Administration, we are urging miners and mine operators to stay alert during winter months when cold temperatures increase safety hazards. Are these best practices being followed at your mine site? 


For surface mines:

  ✔️ Clear snow and ice from roads and walkways

  ✔️ Apply sand or salt to walkways to improve traction

  ✔️ Wear footgear that grips

  ✔️ Check for slip and trip hazards

  ✔️ Maintain equipment to operate safely in cold weather

  ✔️ Drive slowly and keep space between vehicles

  ✔️ Examine equipment for exhaust leaks

  ✔️ Always wear your seatbelt

  ✔️ Check the integrity of highwalls, benches and roadways, especially after each rain, freeze or thaw


In addition to the list above, coal mines should:

  ✔️ Properly support roof and be aware of changing roof conditions

  ✔️ Properly ventilate the mine

  ✔️ Keep clean all combustible materials in mine

  ✔️ Apply liberal amounts of rock dust

  ✔️ Conduct frequent examinations


Help keep yourself and other miners safe by printing a winter safety checklist poster for your workplace or using our winter alert graphics in email messages and on social media and websites, available at

For tips on keeping workers safe from cold stress and related hazards, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s winter weather webpage.

Many mining injuries and fatalities could be prevented with proper training and attention to tasks. Review best practices for common hazards at, and report accidents and hazardous conditions at 1-800-746-1553 or


David A. Steffey, professional engineer, is a Mine Safety and Health Specialist in the Safety Division of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. Follow MSHA on Twitter at @MSHA_DOL.