ARLINGTON, Virginia — Federal regulators are increasing safety efforts at the nation's mines this month.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration says October traditionally is the deadliest month of the year in the U.S. mining industry with 51 fatalities since 2000.
On Monday, MSHA launched a safety initiative that includes enhanced enforcement, education and outreach such as informational discussions at mine sites.
MSHA chief Joe Main says the agency will "look hard for the conditions that have led to mining deaths."
MSHA says many mines are preparing for winter operations by performing annual shutdown activities, taking apart portable plants, relocating equipment and conducting repairs. Because of that, the agency says miners may work with equipment they use only once a year or help maintenance workers on jobs they rarely perform.