WASHINGTON – Over the past year, dozens of miners have been injured or killed in mining incidents, many of which could have been prevented with proper training and attention to tasks. This unacceptable trend has prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to initiate a new safety campaign to reach miners and educate mine operators on their responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and prevent deadly accidents.
The department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the Take Time Save Lives campaign to reach miners, promote best practice resources, and ensure mine operators have the tools they need to fully train miners to use equipment.
“The purpose of this new campaign is simple: mine operators need to take the time to train miners on equipment and safety protocols, and miners need to take time to remember their training before they begin a task,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Jeannette Galanis. “While the Take Time Save Lives campaign specifically highlights best practices for frequently occurring incidents, our goal is to reach miners with a wide-ranging set of resources. MSHA will continue to ensure miners have the knowledge to stay safe on the job, but it’s up to mine operators to make sure that miners are fully trained and able to take time to follow best safety practices that can prevent deadly accidents.”
Miners and operators can find training resources and safety best practices for:
February 26, 2022, marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most devastating mine disasters in U.S. history. Three coal waste dams in West Virginia failed, killing 125 people and injuring 1,100 more in communities downstream of the dams.
Approximately 550 homes were destroyed, and another 900-plus were damaged. Total property damage was estimated at $50 million (about $340 million in 2022 dollars).
From 1962 to 1972, three dams were built in on the middle fork of Buffalo Creek in Logan County. Each upstream dam was built several hundred yards upstream of the previous dam. The pool behind Dam No. 1 filled up with fine waste, then Dam No. 2 was built on top of that waste. This process was repeated when the third dam (Dam No. 3) was built over Dam No. 2’s slurry pool.
The dams were intended to leak and serve as filters. Black water was pumped into pools behind the dams and dams filtered the deposits so that relatively clear water could run out their downstream face. The dams were not designed or constructed in accordance with then-current engineering standards. Instead, the builders “end-dumped” and shoved loosely compacted layers of coarse refuse across the valley. It was a recipe for disaster as the trio of dams was inadequate to handle runoff from large rainstorms, like the one that dumped several inches of rain on Logan County by early Saturday morning, Feb. 26.
Because of the downpour, nearly 50 acre-feet of fresh water filled the pool of Dam No. 3 above its impounded sediment. The pool was within three feet of the crest of the dam, and ominous cracks appeared. These cracks were a clear indication of the saturation and subsequent destabilization of the structure, but no evacuation order was issued. Dam No. 3 failed at 8 a.m., releasing millions of gallons of water into Dam No. 2. Read More»
MINE FATALITY – On January 14, 2022, a 44-year-old contract laborer with 13 years of total experience received fatal injuries when he fell 27 feet to a concrete surface. At the time of the accident, the contractor was on a belt conveyor in a preparation plant and was working to replace a belt conveyor roller.
Photo property of MSHA
Establish and follow safety policies and procedures, when working at heights.
Train miners to use fall protection when a fall hazard exists.
Ensure fall protection is available and properly maintained.
Provide identifiable and secure anchor points to attach lanyards and lifelines.
Provide mobile or stationary platforms—or scaffolding—where there is a risk of falling.
This is the fourth fatality reported in 2022, and the first classified as “Slip or Fall of Person”
MINE FATALITY – On January 7, 2022, a 35 year-old continuous mining machine (CMM) operator was fatally injured when he was pinned between the remote controlled CMM and the coal rib.
Photo property of MSHA
Operate equipment from a safe location. Stay out of “Red Zone” areas including pinch points, the CMM turning radius, and areas close to the ribs.
Maintain proximity detection systems (PDS) in the approved operating condition.
Perform the manufacturer’s recommended static and dynamic tests to assure the PDS is functioning properly. Verify that the shutdown zones are at sufficient distances to stop the CMM before contacting a miner.
Wear miner wearable components in accordance with PDS manufacturer’s recommendations so warning lights and sounds can be seen and heard.
Develop and implement procedures for tramming, repositioning, cable handling and moving remote controlled CMMs safely.
Train miners on the function of PDS.
This is the second fatality reported in 2022, and the first classified as “Machinery.”
MINE FATALITY – On January 11, 2022, a 32 year-old miner died while driving on a mine road when a tree fell from a highwall onto the cab of his pickup truck.
Photo property of MSHA
Examine highwalls frequently and from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest). Look for signs of instability such as cracks, sloughing, loose ground, and for fall of material hazards such as large trees and rocks.
Train all miners to recognize hazardous highwall conditions.
Conduct additional examinations as conditions warrant, especially during periods of changing weather conditions.
Clear loose or potentially hazardous material from near the edge of highwalls and slopes, especially when persons will work or travel below.
Develop and follow a ground control plan that addresses all potential hazards.
This is the third fatality reported in 2022 and the first classified as “Falling, Rolling, or Sliding Rock or Material of Any Kind.”
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Burning, welding, cutting, brazing, soldering, grinding, using fire- or spark-producing tools, or other work that produces a source of ignition – these are all examples of hot work hazards.
Employers need to create a program to ensure hot work is performed safely. Here’s what OSHA says an effective program looks like:
Before issuing a hot work permit (which should be prepared in advance of work beginning), a job hazard assessment needs to be conducted. That includes getting input from workers knowledgeable of the potential dangers.
Before work begins, implement controls to eliminate identified hazards.
If hazards develop during work operations, routine monitoring must be conducted to ensure these hazards don’t pose a risk to workers.
If the hazards can’t be mitigated, operations must be stopped and the elimination of hazards verified before hot work begins.
Share with all workers relevant information about ongoing operations that could create hazardous conditions.
Workers familiar with the hot work process should be available to assist specialty subcontractors to ensure safe working conditions.
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr
Because of their high center of gravity, dump trucks can easily become unstable and tip over.
“Many factors contribute to dump truck tip-overs depending on the worksite and the type of truck used,” the Texas Department of Insurance Division of Workers’ Compensation explains. “However, the main hazard is related to the stability of the end-dump unit when the box is in the raised position. When the center of gravity of the box and load is not between the unit’s frame rails, there is a risk of tip-over.”
Some common factors that can cause tip-overs are operating on uneven or soft ground or a slope, materials being loaded unevenly, or the load doesn’t flow during dumping. “Sometimes material does not move out of the top portion of the box or does not flow out of one side of the top portion as expected,” TDI says. “The uneven distribution of the load can decrease the truck’s stability and result in a tip-over.”
Help prevent tip-overs with these tips from TDI:
Use the right type of dump truck for the job. “For example, use belly-dump semitrailers instead of end-dump semitrailers for spreading aggregate for road construction. Use straight trucks or pup trailers instead of semitrailers to haul to rough graded or fill areas where surfaces are uneven or loosely compacted.”
Stay within regulated weight limits.
Lighten the load when hauling poor-flowing materials.
Check to see that the vehicle is on even ground before dumping. Avoid soft, uneven surfaces.
Make sure the tailgate is unlocked and the vehicle is on a reasonably level surface before dumping.
Never dump near people or other vehicles.
Create a maintenance and inspection program. Preventive maintenance and regular inspections play an important role in eliminating vehicle tip-overs.
Establish and enforce safety procedures and policies.
As a young boy, my favorite thing was to build rivers and reservoirs and dams from big puddles after a rainstorm, and channel the water using old pieces of pipe my dad had lying around. Little did I know back then that I would be leading a state agency, made up of the best and brightest engineering minds who build and maintain an efficient and safe transportation system for the traveling public.
Feb. 20-26 is National Engineers Week. I wish to congratulate and extend my thanks to our Arizona Department of Transportation engineers for the work they perform each and every day.
ADOT employs engineers with diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise. We have engineers who are environmental planners, bridge designers and surveyors, while others specialize in fields such as civil, utility, railroad, transportation systems, traffic and roadway. All of them work together to create a safe and reliable transportation system we can be proud of in Arizona.
To be an engineer requires an interest in math, science, technology…the STEM-related courses, and then applying that knowledge in a particular field of study. For some it starts as a love of Legos or building bridges with toothpicks. No matter where the interest comes from, ADOT looks to foster engineering skills. Sometimes that starts with an ADOT Kids activity or it might be the mentoring an engineer-in-training receives.
While I didn’t pursue an engineering degree, I still get the opportunity to work alongside engineers and marvel at their ingenuity in building infrastructure to last for years to come.
Again, congratulations to all the engineers in Arizona! If you see an engineer, tell them thanks for a job well done and ask them why they became an engineer. I wouldn’t be surprised if they say, “I like to build things.”
McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.
Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at email@example.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.
MINE FATALITY – On January 7, 2022, a 49 year-old front-end loader operator with 15 years of mining experience died when a large rock fell from the mine roof, crushing the cab of the front-end loader. When the accident occurred, the victim was loading material from a recently blasted shot.
Photo property of MSHA
Scale the back and ribs before performing work in an area.
Conduct examinations of the back, face, and ribs where miners work and travel.
Install suitable ground support where conditions warrant.
Use geologic hazard mapping to identify adverse conditions and be aware of changing ground conditions.
Train miners to identify workplace hazards and take action to correct them.
This is the first fatality reported in 2022, and the first classified as “Fall of Roof or Back.”