MSHA Mine Fatality #1

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A miner fell into a portable load out bin on January 8, 2020, and died at the scene.

January 8 ,2020 fatalitry scene of the fatality accident
Best Practices:
  1. Check handrails and gates. Ensure handrails and gates are substantially constructed, properly secured, and free of defects.
  2. Install mechanical flow-enhancing devices so workers do not have to enter a bin to start or maintain material flow.
  3. Don’t stand on material stored in bins. Material stored in a bin can bridge over the hopper outlet, creating a hidden void below the material surface.
  4. Lock-out, tag-out. Do not enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
  5. Wear a safety belt or harness secured with a lanyard to an adequate anchor point before entering a bin. Station a second person near the anchor point to make sure there’s no slack in the fall protection system.
  6. Train all miners to recognize fall hazards and properly use fall protection.
  7. Provide safe access to all workplaces, and discuss and establish safe work procedures.
Additional Information:

This is the first fatality reported in 2020, and the first fatality classified as “Fall of Person.”

MSHA Fatality #22

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A contract maintenance mechanic was performing elevator maintenance when the car descended, crushing the mechanic against an elevator platform. The person died at the scene on December 3, 2019.

December 3, 2019 scene of the fatality accident
Best Practices:
  1. De-energize, lock out and tag out, and block machinery or equipment that can injure miners – before entering the area.
  2. Post warning signs or barricades to keep miners out of areas where health or safety hazards exist.
  3. Install an audible alarm to warn of impending equipment movement.
  4. Evaluate and correct possible hazards promptly before working.
  5. Train personnel in safely using handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities. Ensure their use.
Additional Information:

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Machinery.”

MSHA Fatality #21

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – While spotting for a dump truck, a contractor stepped directly into the path of a bulldozer and died at the scene on November 16, 2019.

Fatality on November 16, 2019 scene of the fatality accident
Best Practices: 
  1. Safety first. Before starting work, establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work and properly protect workers.
  2. Know where people are. Be aware of body positioning around equipment, traffic patterns, dump sites, and haul roads.
  3. Train miners and contractors on traffic controls, mobile equipment patterns, and other site-specific hazards.
  4. Stay alert. Do not place yourself in harm’s way.
  5. Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  6. Ensure travelways are clear before moving a vehicle or mobile equipment.
  7. Look behind you. Install “rear viewing” cameras or other collision warning systems on mobile equipment. When backing up, look over your shoulder to eliminate blind spots. When using mirrors, use all available mirrors.
  8. Wear reflective material while working around mobile equipment. Use flags, visible to equipment operators, to make miners and smaller vehicles more visible.
Additional Information:

This is the 21st fatality reported in 2019, and the fifth fatality classified as “Machinery.”

MSHA Fatality #20

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A mobile maintenance mechanic was driving on the pit haulage road when the service truck he was operating left the road, hit a berm, and flipped onto its side, ejecting the miner. The miner died at the scene on November 5, 2019.

Accident scene of ejected miner
Best Practices:
  1. Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
  2. Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
  3. Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any safety defects before operating mobile equipment.
Additional Information:

This is the 20th fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Powered Haulage.”

MSHA Fatality #19

COAL MINE FATALITY – On September 17, 2019, an electrician was electrocuted when he contacted an energized conductor. The victim contacted a 995 VAC connector while attempting to troubleshoot the scrubber motor circuit on a continuous mining machine.

Fatality accident scene on September 17, 2019
Best Practices: 
  1. Lock out and tag out the electrical circuit yourself. Never rely on others to do this for you.
  2. BEFORE performing electrical work:
    • Open the circuit breaker or load break switch away from the enclosure to de-energize the incoming power cables or conductors.
    • Open the visual disconnect away from the enclosure to confirm that the incoming power cables or conductors have been de-energized.
    • Lock out and tag out the visual disconnect.
    • Ground the de-energized phase conductors.
  3. Wear properly rated and well maintained electrical gloves when troubleshooting or testing energized circuits.  After the electrical problem has been found, follow the proper steps before performing electrical work.
  4. Use properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers to ensure electrical circuits have been de-energized.
  5. Only use qualified, trained workers. Ensure electrical work is performed by a qualified electrician or someone trained to do electrical work under a qualified electrician’s direct supervision.
  6. Identify circuits and circuit breakers. Properly identify all electrical circuits and circuit breakers before troubleshooting or performing electrical work.

MSHA Fatality #18

MINE FATALITY ALERT – On September 5, 2019, a continuous mining machine helper was fatally injured when he was struck by a battery-powered scoop. The victim was in the #3 entry behind a wing curtain that provided ventilation to the #3 right crosscut being mined. The scoop was trammed through the #3 left crosscut and struck the victim as it made a right-hand turn and passed through the wing curtain.

scene of accident where the victim was struck by a battery-powered scoop
Best Practices:
  • Install and maintain proximity detection systems on mobile section equipment.
  • Before operating mobile equipment, inform miners of your travel route – especially if changes are being made. Proceed with caution and watch for miners on foot.
  • STOP and SOUND an audible warning device before tramming equipment through ventilation curtains.
  • STAY ALERT around mobile section equipment. Communicate your presence and intended movements to equipment operators.
  • Use transparent curtains for ventilation controls on working sections.
  • Be aware that noise can cause moving equipment to not be heard.

Safety Alert – Electrical Accidents

The mining industry has experienced three electrical fatalities since August 7, 2019. The first fatal accident occurred when a 42-year-old electrician with 15 years of mining experience contacted an energized component of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit. The victim was in the preparation plant’s Motor Control Center (MCC) adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the 4,160 VAC panel that supplied power to the plant feed belt motors. Read more»

       

MSHA Fatality #17

On August 29, 2019, a 25 year-old section foreman with 6 years of mining experience was fatally injured while exiting the longwall face.  The victim was struck and covered by a portion of mine rib measuring 25 feet in length, 3 feet in depth, and 8 ½ feet in height.

Fatality accident scene on August 29, 2019
Best Practices:
  • Be aware of potential hazards when working or traveling near mine ribs.
  • Take additional safety precautions when geologic conditions, or an increase in mining height, could cause roof or rib hazards.
  • Train all miners to conduct thorough and more frequent examinations of the roof, face, and ribs when miners work or travel close to the longwall face.  Continuously monitor for changing conditions.
  • Install rib supports of proper length with surface area coverage, on cycle, and in a consistent pattern for the best protection against rib falls.
Additional Information:

This is the 17th MSHA fatality reported in calendar year 2019.  As of this date in 2018, there were 13 MSHA fatalities reported.  This is the second MSHA fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Pillar or Highwall in 2019.  There was one MSHA fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Pillar or Highwall during the same period in 2018.

MSHA Fatality #16

MSHA MINE FATALITY – On August 20, 2019, a 20-year-old miner with 27 weeks of mining experience was fatally injured when he fell 40 feet down a shaft, to the cement floor below. The victim was working with another miner, unloading a refuse kettle attached to an electric hoist, when he went over the unguarded edge of the shaft.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above
Best Practices:
  • Always use fall protection equipment and safety belts with lines, when working at heights and near openings where there is a danger of falling.
  • Have properly designed gates, safety chains, handrails, guards, and ensure covers are securely in place at openings through which persons may fall.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and any hazards that may be present.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures.
  • Train personnel in safe work procedures regarding the use of handrails and fall protection equipment, and ensure their use.
  • Conduct workplace examinations in order to identify and correct hazards prior to performing work. Report hazards that you cannot immediately correct to management.
Additional Information:

This is the 16th MSHA fatality reported in calendar year 2019. As of this date in 2018, there were 13 MSHA fatalities reported. This is the second MSHA fatality classified as Slip or Fall of Person in 2019. There were no MSHA fatalities classified as Slip or Fall of Person during the same period in 2018.

MSHA Fatality #15

On Friday August 15, 2019, a 44-year-old contract electrician with 10 weeks of mining experience was electrocuted when he contacted a 120V cable while working inside a fire suppression system’s electrical panel.

The accident scene for fatality on August 15, 2019
Best Practices: 
  1. Ensure miners receive proper training on all electrical related tasks.
  2. Ensure that circuit breakers and switches are properly labeled.
  3. Properly lock-out and tag-out electrical circuits prior to working on them.
  4. Wear properly rated and well maintained personal protective equipment while troubleshooting or testing energized circuits.
  5. Use properly insulated tools when performing electrical work.
  6. Use properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers to ensure electrical circuits have been de-energized prior to performing electrical work.
Additional Information:

This is the 15th MSHA fatality reported in calendar year 2019.  As of this date in 2018, there were 12 MSHA fatalities reported.  This is the second electrical accident classification fatality in 2019.  There was one electrical accident classification fatality during the same period in 2018.