MSHA – Mine Fatality #29

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On December 15, 2020, a miner was fatally injured while changing the rear tire on a front-end loader. The victim was underneath the front-end loader when it fell.

Accident scene where a miner was fatally injured while changing the rear tire on a front-end loader.
Best Practices:
  • Securely block raised equipment to prevent movement.
  • Do not rely solely on hydraulic jacks.
  • Perform equipment maintenance requiring lifting or raising equipment on a level and solid ground.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for changing tires.
  • Establish safe operating procedures for all work.
  • Ensure all workers are trained in safe operating procedures.
Additional Information:

This is the 29th fatality reported in 2020, and the ninth 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 27th and 28th

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITIES – On December 14, 2020, two miners died when a back failure occurred in a large four-way intersection. The miners were pumping sealing grout in the intersection when blocks of salt and anhydrite fell from beneath a slickenside onto the miners.

Accident scene where two miners died when a back failure occurred in a large four-way intersection.
Best Practices:
  • In areas of excessive span or adverse geology:
    • Install supplemental ground support to control strata movement.
    • Install sag monitors or extensometers to detect ground movement or strata separation.
    • Drill and evaluate test holes for strata separation using a borescope or scratch test.
  • Use geologic hazard mapping to identify adverse conditions.
  • Be alert to any change of ground conditions.
  • Report hazardous or abnormal conditions.
  • Perform thorough workplace examinations where miners work or travel.
  • Identify and scale hazardous ground conditions from a safe location.
  • Train miners to recognize hazards and follow safe work practices, especially before they perform new tasks.
Additional Information:

These are the 27th and 28th fatalities reported in 2020, and the second and third classified as “Fall of Roof or Back.”


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 #26

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On November 23, 2020, a miner was electrocuted while troubleshooting a disconnect box for the classifier drive motor. The victim had the electrical disconnect box open and the main power supply was not deenergized.

Accident scene where a miner was electrocuted while troubleshooting a disconnect box for the classifier drive motor. The victim had the electrical disconnect box open and the main power supply was not deenergized.
Best Practices:
  • Ensure electrical circuit components are properly designed and installed by qualified electrical personnel.
  • Ensure electrical troubleshooting and work are performed by people with proper electrical qualifications. Positively identify the circuit on which work will be conducted.
  • Before performing electrical work, locate the visual disconnect away from an enclosure and open it, lock it, and tag it, to ensure all electrical components in the enclosure are de-energized. Verify by testing for voltage using properly rated test equipment.
  • Wear properly rated and well maintained personal protective equipment, including arc flash protection such as a hood, gloves, shirt and pants.
  • Train miners on safe work practices for electrical equipment and circuits.
Additional Information:

This is the 26th fatality reported in 2020, and the second classified as “Electrical.”


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.

IME Alliance Electronic Detonators – Safety Alert

First published by MSHA.

Electronic Detonators are NOT the same as Electric Detonators
Electronic and electric detonators may look similar and serve the same function, but they are very different.

Key Differences:
Lead wire attachment – As demonstrated in the figure below, the wire leads of the electronic detonator do not attach directly to a match head or bridge wire, like electric detonators. In the case of electric detonators, the direct connection of the wire leads to the matchhead or bridge wire makes them susceptible to initiation from static, stray current and/or radio frequency (RF) energy, whereas electronic detonators are not.

Added protection – Electronic detonators have other components to increase protection from extraneous energy sources: a spark gap device to protect against static discharge events (high voltage spikes from static build up on personnel, equipment, etc.), the use of current limiting resistors, amongst other devices or design features.

EMP – Both electric and electronic detonators can be damaged by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). However, electronic detonators generally have built-in protection from this type of extraneous energy.

Pressure induced damage – Both electric and electronic detonators can incorporate dynamic and static pressure resistance, however electronic detonators (which use microchip technology and logic to provide timing and firing control) may have a higher susceptibility to damage.

Enhanced control systems – Electronic Blasting Machines are the only devices designed to provide password protection, programming capability and the energy levels needed to charge the electronic detonators in a circuit and send a fire command.

Interchangeability – Electronic detonating systems are unique and system components must NEVER be interchanged. Users should read and understand all aspects of the system they use and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Electric detonators can be used with any appropriate firing device.

Training – ALWAYS consult your manufacturer for proper training information before attempting to operate any Electronic Blasting Initiation System.

diagram of Electronic Detonators, Electronic and electric detonators may look similar and serve the same function, but they are very different.
Best Practices:

ALWAYS clear the blast area of personnel, vehicles, and equipment prior to hooking up to the firing device or blast controller. In addition, the blast area should remain clear until the charge on the electronic detonators have had sufficient time to bleed off.


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 #25

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Nov. 23, 2020, a miner was fatally injured when the battery-powered scoop he was operating ran over a section of pipe in the roadway. The four-inch plastic pipe entered the operator’s compartment and struck him.

Accident scene where a miner was fatally injured when the battery-powered scoop he was operating ran over a section of pipe in the roadway.
Best Practices:
  • Conduct thorough examinations of roadways and remove material that could pose a hazard to equipment operators, passengers, or other miners.
  • Keep roadways free of excessive watermud, and other conditions that reduce an equipment operator’s ability to control mobile equipment.
  • Secure loads on haulage vehicles to prevent them from falling off into roadways.
  • Install substantial guarding to prevent material from entering the operator compartment.
  • Establish safe operating procedures for mobile equipment and a maintenance schedule for roadways.
Additional Information:

This is the 25th fatality reported in 2020, and the seventh 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 #24

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Nov. 8, 2020, a bulldozer operator was killed when his bulldozer backed over the edge of a highwall.

Accident scene where a bulldozer operator was killed when his bulldozer backed over the edge of a highwall.
Best Practices:

•    Install and maintain lights to illuminate working places during the night and early morning hours.
•    Install berms, signs or devices to identify the edge of working benches and to allow equipment operators to maintain control of equipment.
•    Train equipment operators to identify dangerous conditions and to keep the dozer blade between the operator and the edge when near drop-offs.
•    Develop and enforce policies requiring safety belts when operating machinery.

Additional Information:

This is the 24th fatality reported in 2020, and the eighth 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 #23

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Oct. 27, 2020, a miner was digging a hole to install a wooden post for roof control when a section of the roof fell on him.

Accident scene when a section of the roof fell on the victim
Best Practices:
  • Thoroughly examine the roof, face, and ribs where people will be working and traveling, including sound and vibration testing where applicable.
  • Scale loose roof and ribs from a safe location. Prevent access to hazardous areas until appropriate corrective measures can be taken.
  • Set temporary support before installing permanent support.
  • Be alert for changing conditions and report abnormal roof or rib conditions to mine management and other miners.
  • Know and follow the approved roof control plan and provide additional support when cracks or other abnormalities are detected. Remember, the approved roof control plan contains minimum requirements.
  • Propose revisions to the roof control plan to provide measures to control roof hazards.
Additional Information:

This is the 23rd fatality reported in 2020, and the first classified as “Fall of Roof or Back.”


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

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On August 21, 2020, a truck driver sustained fatal head injuries while he was deploying the automatic tarp on his fifth-wheel side-dump trailer.

Fatality scene where a truck driver sustained fatal head injuries while he was deploying the automatic tarp on his fifth-wheel side-dump trailer
Best Practices:
  • Install and use constant pressure electrical switches to deploy/retract automatic trailer tarps.
  • Inspect and maintain tarping systems routinely to ensure tarping systems function properly.
  • Install signs warning of the hazard of standing near trailers while automatic tarps are deployed/retracted.
  • Train miners on proper tarping techniques to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
Additional Information:

This is the sixth fatality classified as “Machinery” since August 21, 2020.


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 October 19, 2020, an excavator’s bucket struck a plant operator who was standing on the cross beam of a grizzly hopper screen.

Accident scene where an excavator’s bucket struck a plant operator who was standing on the cross beam of a grizzly hopper screen
Best Practices:

•   Never swing buckets over work areas or operator’s compartments.
•   Maintain communication between equipment operators and miners on the ground.
•   Maintain control of equipment while it is in operation.
•   Train miners to safely perform their tasks.

Additional Information:

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2020, and the seventh 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 #20

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On October 14, 2020, a lead person was killed when his pickup truck was struck by a haul truck. Preliminary Report Overview.

Accident scene where a lead person was killed when his pickup truck was struck by a haul truck
Best Practices:
  • Install and maintain collision avoidance/warning systems.
  • Equip smaller vehicles with strobe lights and flags positioned high enough to be seen from the cabs of haulage trucks in all lighting conditions.
  • Establish and follow communication protocols that require verbal verification for all mobile equipment operators.
  • Design haul roads to minimize congested areas and maximize visibility.
  • Do not drive smaller vehicles in a large truck’s potential path.
  • Train miners on mobile traffic patterns and policies. Do not rely on training or other administrative controls alone to prevent powered haulage or other accidents.
Additional Information:

This is the 20th fatality reported in 2020 and the fifth 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.