On Thursday, March 7, 2019, a 38-year-old miner with 10 years of mining experience received fatal injuries while he was working on the pad of a highwall mining machine (HWM). The miner was contacted in a pinch point between a post and a section of the HWM (i.e. push beam) that was being removed as part of the normal mining cycle.
Establish and discuss safe work procedures for removing push beams. Identify and control all hazards and develop methods to protect miners.
Determine the proper working position to avoid pinch points. Monitor personnel to ensure safe work procedures are followed.
Always follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures and discuss these procedures during training.
Train miners to recognize potential hazardous conditions and understand safe job procedures before beginning work.
On March 7, 2019, a 46-year-contractor with three years of experience was fatally injured when he lost his balance and fell backwards through a narrow gap between two log washers and landed on a cable tray approximately 12 feet below. The victim was changing drive belts on a log washer motor when his wrench slipped off of a bolt he was tightening, causing the loss of balance.
Always use fall protection equipment, safety belts and lines, when working at heights and near openings where there is a danger of falling.
Always be aware of your surroundings and any hazards that may be present.
Have properly designed handrails, guards, and covers securely in place at openings through which persons may fall.
Train personnel in safe work procedures regarding the use of handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities and ensure their use.
Conduct workplace examinations in order to identify and correct hazards prior to performing work.
On March 6, 2019, a 35-year-old contractor with 35 weeks of experience was fatally injured when he was struck by a relief valve that was ejected from a 500-ton hydraulic jack. The hydraulic jack was being engaged to make contact with the frame of a P&H 4100A shovel when the relief valve was ejected.
Inspect, examine, maintain, and evaluate all materials and system components used in the installation, replacement, or repair of pressurized systems to ensure they are suitable for use and meet minimum manufacturer’s specifications.
Test systems at lower pressures to verify connections and flow rates prior to full pressure use.
Position yourself in a safe location, away from any potential sources of failure, while pressurizing systems.
Consult and follow the manufacturer’s recommended safe work procedures.
Establish and discuss safe work procedures that include hazard analysis before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.
On January 23, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor will publish a final rule in the Federal Register that will adjust for inflation MSHA’s civil monetary penalties. On November 2, 2015, the President signed into law the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. This law requires the Department to annually adjust its civil monetary penalty levels for inflation no later than January 15 of each year. Continue Reading »
The table below reports the change to MSHA’s penalties in 2019.
On Monday, January 14, 2019, a 56-year-old survey crew member with approximately 30 years of mining experience was fatally injured after he was struck by a loaded shuttle car. The victim was measuring the mining height in an entry that was part of the travel-way used by the shuttle car to access the section feeder.
Before performing work in an active haulage travel-way, communicate your position and intended movements to mobile equipment operators and park mobile equipment until work has been completed.
Never assume mobile equipment operators can see you. Always wear reflective clothing and permissible strobe lights to ensure high visibility when traveling or working where mobile equipment is operating.
Be aware of blind spots on mobile equipment when traveling in the same areas where mobile equipment operates.
Place visible warning and barrier devices at all entrances to areas prior to performing work in active travelways of mobile equipment.
Operate mobile equipment at safe speeds and sound audible warnings when visibility is obstructed, making turns, reversing direction, etc. Ensure sound levels of audible warnings are significantly higher than ambient noise.
Ensure directional lights are on when equipment is being operated. Maintain all lights provided on mobile equipment in proper working condition at all times.
On Saturday, January 5, 2019, a 55-year-old contract miner received fatal injuries when he was pinned between a pneumatically powered air lock equipment door and the concrete rib barrier located near the shaft bottom.
Design and maintain ventilation controls, including airlock doors to provide air separation and permit travel between or within air courses or entries.
Ensure that airlock doors are designed and maintained to prevent simultaneous opening of both sets of doors.
Ensure miners are trained in the proper use of automatic doors and procedures to follow in the event the doors malfunction.
Provide means to override automatic airlock doors and allow manual operation in case of an emergency.
Keep the path of automatic doors clear of miners and equipment.
When changes in ventilation are made, test automatic doors to ensure they operate safely under the new conditions.
Perform thorough examinations of airlock doors to assure safe operating conditions. When a hazardous condition is found, remove the doors from service until they are repaired.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports that 27 mining fatalities occurred in 2018 – the second lowest number ever recorded.
Eighteen fatalities occurred at surface operations; nine occurred in underground mines. Approximately 250,000 miners work across 12,000 U.S. metal/nonmetal mines, and 83,000 miners work in the nation’s 1,200 coal mines.
The leading cause of fatalities was powered haulage, which accounted for 13 fatalities or 48 percent of the annual total. MSHA has taken action to counter powered haulage fatalities, including publishing a Request for Information seeking stakeholder input on technologies and practices that can improve safety conditions related to mobile equipment and belt conveyors. MSHA also launched a campaign to educate miners and mine operators on the hazards associated with such equipment.
Department of Labor (DOL) has published its fall 2018 semiannual regulatory agenda covering OSHA and MSHA rulemaking activities forecast for the coming 12 months. The agenda contains no proposed rules for OSHA and lists no MSHA rulemaking items. Read More»
On August 9, 2018, a miner was injured when the pan scraper he was operating stalled, travelled through a berm and rolled over a bench. The operator of the pan scraper was wearing a seatbelt and was able to escape with a cut arm. More»