US Department of Labor announces proposed rule to require mine operators to improve safe usage of mobile, powered-haulage equipment

First published by MSHA

Photo property of MSHA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced a proposed rule to require mine operators employing six or more miners to develop a written safety program for mobile and powered haulage equipment (excluding belt conveyors) at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. This proposed rule is one of several actions MSHA has taken to reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries involving surface mobile equipment used at mines and to improve safety and health.

Under the proposed rule, mine operators would implement a written safety program including actions to identify hazards and risks to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment. Mine operators would have the flexibility to devise a safety program for their specific mining conditions and operations. In addition, MSHA would encourage its state grantees to provide training to address hazards and risks involving surface mobile equipment in small mining operations.

Read the proposed rule. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 8, 2021.

Learn more about MSHA and its rulemaking.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #24

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On August 11, 2021, a 53-year-old contract truck driver with ten years’ experience was fatally injured while conducting a pre-operational examination of a truck.  The rear wheels of the vehicle struck the truck driver when the truck rolled forward.

accident scene where a 53-year-old contract truck driver with ten years’ experience was fatally injured while conducting a pre-operational examination of a truck.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Block mobile equipment against motion.  Adequately chock wheels or turn wheels into a bank.
  • Use specially designed truck-wheel chocks of the appropriate size and material to hold the vehicle securely.  Do not use lumber, cinder blocks, rocks, or other makeshift items to chock.
  • Never position yourself in hazardous areas around equipment parked on a grade that is not blocked or secured from movement.
  • Maintain the equipment’s braking systems.  Perform repairs and adjustments when necessary and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Do not exceed the manufacturer’s load limits.
Additional Information:

This is the 24th fatality reported in 2021, and the tenth classified as “Powered Haulage.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Stay Out – Stay Alive

First published by MSHA
MSHA Stay Out Stay Alive Logo for 2021

Photo property of MSHA.gov

Stay Out, Stay Alive 

Exploring or playing at active and abandoned mine sites is dangerous, potentially fatal 

Water-filled quarries and pits hide rock ledges, old machinery and other hazards.  The water can be deceptively deep and dangerously cold.  Steep, slippery walls make exiting the water difficult.  Hills of loose material can easily collapse on an unsuspecting biker or climber.  Vertical shafts can be hundreds of feet deep and may be completely unprotected, or hidden by vegetation.

Even so dozens of people are injured or killed while exploring or playing on mine property every year.  The men and women employed in our nation’s mines are trained to work in a safe manner.  For trespassers, hazards are not always apparent.

For example:

  • Water-filled quarries can not only hide rock ledges but can also contain dangerous electric currents that become deadly under water.
  • Abandoned mine shafts that may seem fun to explore can unexpectedly collapse.

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 and pits – and stay alive.

Visit https://www.abandonedmines.gov/staying-safe 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!


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #23

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On August 3, 2021, a miner was run over by a customer tractor-trailer while walking to his normal work area.

Accident scene where a miner drowned during a flash flood while traveling in a personnel carrier to go to the mine portal.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Assure adequate illumination sufficient to provide safe working conditions.
  • Communicate with mobile equipment operators and make eye contact to ensure they acknowledge your presence. Be aware of the location and traffic patterns of mobile equipment in your work area.
  • Wear high visibility clothing when working around mobile equipment.
  • Wear strobe lights near mobile equipment.
  • Assure traffic controls provide for safe movement of mobile equipment and are followed. Operate mobile equipment at reduced speeds in work areas.
  • Stay clear of normal paths of travel for mobile equipment and train all persons to recognize work place hazards.
Additional Information:

This is the 23rd fatality reported in 2021, and the ninth classified as “Powered Haulage.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #22

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On August 1, 2021, a miner drowned during a flash flood while traveling in a personnel carrier to go to the mine portal.  The miner exited the personnel carrier as the floodwater engulfed the vehicle.  As the miner attempted to assist other miners, he was carried away by the floodwater.

Accident scene where a miner drowned during a flash flood while traveling in a personnel carrier to go to the mine portal.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:

•    Monitor flash-flood watches and warnings and other adverse weather conditions, such as severe storm events, that could affect the safety of mine personnel.  Use NOAA Weather Radio or a smartphone app to monitor hazardous weather conditions in your area.
•    Establish policies and procedures to provide adequate warning to all mine personnel of ongoing weather conditions pertaining to flash floods and other adverse weather conditions.
•    Establish policies restricting access to areas likely, or known, to be affected by flash floods or other adverse weather conditions.  Do not travel across flooded roadways.
•    Properly design drainage systems, especially in areas where the terrain enhances water runoff and flooding.  Changes in a watershed, such as timbering or surface mining, can increase water runoff and flooding.
•    Examine drainage systems and features to ensure they are functioning and unobstructed.

Additional Information:

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Inundation.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #21

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On July 28, 2021, a miner was standing on a rock ledge to extract dimensional stone when a triangular section of the rock broke off, causing the miner to fall approximately 35 feet.

Accident scene where a miner was standing on a rock ledge to extract dimensional stone when a triangular section of the rock broke off, causing the miner to fall approximately 35 feet.
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Use fall protection when a potential fall hazard exists.  Ensure fall protection has a suitable fall arrest and secure anchorage system.
  • Examine working places to identify loose ground or unstable conditions before work begins, after blasting, and as changing ground conditions warrant.  Ensure examiners have adequate training and experience to recognize potential hazards.
  • Assess risks and control hazards before beginning work activities.  Remain a safe distance from cracks and any sign of unstable ground conditions.
  • Assure a safe means of access is provided and maintained to all working places.  Use personnel lifts and ladders, as required.
  • Train miners and ensure they perform work safely, use tools properly, and utilize personal protective equipment correctly.
Additional Information:

This is the 21st fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Falling, Rolling, or Sliding Rock or Material of Any Kind.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #19

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On July 21, 2021, a miner received fatal injuries while adding a boom extension to a crane.  The miner was working under the boom to remove the boom pins when he was struck by the boom.

Accident scebe where a miner received fatal injuries while adding a boom extension to a crane
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Never perform work under raised machinery or equipment until such machinery or equipment has been securely braced in position, blocked and  secured against motion.  Be alert for hazards that may be created while the work is being performed.
  • Conduct repairs from a safe location per manufacturer’s recommendations.  Verify the release of all stored energy before initiating repairs.
  • Use a lifting device compatible with the load being lifted and ensure blocking material is competent, substantial, and adequate to support and stabilize the load.  Always use the manufacturer’s safety devices or features to secure components against motion, and secure assemblies that rotate to prevent movement.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before starting any task.  Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition.  Monitor personnel routinely to ensure safe work procedures are being followed.
Additional Information:

This is the 19th fatality reported in 2021, and the fourth classified as “Machinery.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #18

First published by MSHA

MINE FATALITY – On July 13, 2021, a rock falling from a pillar in a benched area at a room-and-pillar zinc mine struck a miner. The miner was in a personnel lift basket near ground level to load blasting supplies.  The rock fell from a height of approximately 40 feet, striking the basket.

accident scene where a rock falling from a pillar in a benched area at a room-and-pillar zinc mine struck a miner
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Support or remove loose material from a safe position before beginning work.
  • Design, install, and maintain the ground support to control the ground where people work or travel, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant.
  • Use scaling equipment capable of maintaining safe ground conditions suitable for the mining dimensions.
  • Establish safe work procedures to ensure a safe work location for miners conducting scaling operations.  Train all miners to recognize hazards and understand these procedures.
  • Perform thorough workplace examinations where miners work or travel.
  • Be alert for changing conditions, especially after activities that could cause back/roof disturbance.
Additional Information:

This is the 18th fatality reported in 2021, and the second classified as “Fall of Face/Rib/Highwall.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA stand-down for powered haulage safety set for July 20

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Stand down for Safety Day
Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA — Alarmed by a recent surge in fatal and nonfatal work-related injuries involving powered haulage activity, the Mine Safety and Health Administration on July 20 will host a national Stand Down for Safety Day to help educate miners and employers in a bid to reduce injuries.

“All levels of MSHA enforcement staff will visit mines to meet with miners and operators,” the agency says. “MSHA staff will emphasize the need to comply with best safety practices for powered haulage, vehicle rollovers and miner training.”

The agency reports that, as of July 15, nine fatalities and 185 nonfatal injuries related to powered haulage have occurred this year.

On. Jan. 13, MSHA announced that 29 miners died on the job last year, marking the sixth straight year in which the annual total was below 30. Although the agency reported a significant decrease in deaths related to powered haulage in 2020 – 21% of the overall total – fatalities involving the activity have made up about half of miner fatalities so far this year, according to data presented June 9 during a virtual conference call for injury stakeholders.

MSHA offers numerous best practices for powered haulage:

For surface operations:

  • Always dump material in a safe location.
  • Always construct substantial berms as a visual indicator to prevent over travel.
  • Establish safe traffic patterns with proper signage.
  • Chock wheels or turn them into a bank when parking mobile equipment on a grade.

For underground operations:

  • Stop and sound audible warning device before tramming equipment through ventilation curtains.
  • Look in the direction of travel and stay in the operator’s compartment while operating mobile equipment.
  • Install reflective signs or warning lights in low clearance areas.

For conveyors:

  • Design, install and maintain guards.
  • Lock and tag conveyors before performing work.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Powered Haulage Accidents – Safety Alert

First published by MSHA

Stop Powered Haulage Accidents: Stay Alert!  Stay Alive!

  • Fatalities and accidents involving mobile equipment: shuttle cars, scoops, locomotives, front end loaders, haulage equipment, service and pickup trucks continue to occur at a disproportionate high rate.
Powered Haulage Accidents
Photo property of MSHA.gov
Best Practices:
  • Know where in the workplace others are and communicate with them: use radios, mirrors, cameras, headlights, strobe warning lights, horns, and buggy-whip flags.  Stay clear of mobile equipment blind spots.
  • Set mobile equipment parking brakes and chock the wheels when vehicles are unattended:  Don’t stand, walk or work directly downhill of parked vehicles.  Stay clear of moving vehicles.
  • Establish safe traffic patterns and rules: post signage, ensure rules are followed, adhere to speed limits and approach intersections with caution.
  • Use proximity detection/collision avoidance systems.
  • Ensure that seat belts are maintained in good condition and worn at all times.
  • Ensure that conveyors are deenergized, locked, tagged and blocked against motion before removing guards or beginning work.

*Make sure miners and mine operators are trained in best practices.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.