METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – A miner fell into a portable load out bin on January 8, 2020, and died at the scene.
Check handrails and gates. Ensure handrails and gates are substantially constructed, properly secured, and free of defects.
Install mechanical flow-enhancing devices so workers do not have to enter a bin to start or maintain material flow.
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.
Lock-out, tag-out. Do not enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
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.
Train all miners to recognize fall hazards and properly use fall protection.
Provide safe access to all workplaces, and discuss and establish safe work procedures.
This is the first fatality reported in 2020, and the first fatality classified as “Fall of Person.”
ARLINGTON, VA – There were 24 mining fatalities in the U.S. in 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports. This is the fewest annual fatalities ever recorded, and only the fifth year in MSHA’s 43-year history that mining fatalities were below 30. MSHA is still reviewing two cases of possible chargeable fatalities which, if added would make the total in 2019 the second lowest number of fatalities ever recorded. Continue Reading»
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.
De-energize, lock out and tag out, and block machinery or equipment that can injure miners – before entering the area.
Post warning signs or barricades to keep miners out of areas where health or safety hazards exist.
Install an audible alarm to warn of impending equipment movement.
Evaluate and correct possible hazards promptly before working.
Train personnel in safely using handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities. Ensure their use.
This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Machinery.”
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.
Safety first. Before starting work, establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work and properly protect workers.
Know where people are. Be aware of body positioning around equipment, traffic patterns, dump sites, and haul roads.
Train miners and contractors on traffic controls, mobile equipment patterns, and other site-specific hazards.
Stay alert. Do not place yourself in harm’s way.
Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
Ensure travelways are clear before moving a vehicle or mobile equipment.
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.
Wear reflective material while working around mobile equipment. Use flags, visible to equipment operators, to make miners and smaller vehicles more visible.
This is the 21st fatality reported in 2019, and the fifth fatality classified as “Machinery.”
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.
Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any safety defects before operating mobile equipment.
This is the 20th fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as “Powered Haulage.”
Washington — OSHA’s complaint inspections, Severe Violator Enforcement Program activities, Whistleblower Protection Programs and administration of rules are all intended to undergo evaluation this year by the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. Read more
ARLINGTON, VA – For the fifth consecutive year, none of the nation’s more than 13,000 mining operations met the criteria for a Pattern of Violations (POV), the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced today. The screening period started on September 1, 2018, and ended on August 31, 2019.
The POV provision in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 is one of MSHA’s toughest enforcement tools. MSHA reserves the provision for mines that pose the greatest risk to miners’ health and safety, particularly those with chronic violation records. Continue reading»
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.
Lock out and tag out the electrical circuit yourself. Never rely on others to do this for you.
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.
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.
Use properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers to ensure electrical circuits have been de-energized.
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.
Identify circuits and circuit breakers. Properly identify all electrical circuits and circuit breakers before troubleshooting or performing electrical work.
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.
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.
Prompted by a fire on a diesel-powered water car in May, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert addressing fire hazards associated with diesel equipment in underground mines.
According to MSHA, the incident occurred when the vehicle’s automatic and manually activated fire suppression systems failed to function properly. The vehicle had been converted to a water transport vehicle from a personnel carrier. The systems malfunctioned because an actuation hose had been damaged as a result of routing through the engine compartment. Crews extinguished the blaze using a fire hose from the water system near the conveyor belt drive. No miners were injured in the incident.
MSHA offers best practices for fire safety awareness. Among them:
Conduct thorough preoperational inspections and perform required maintenance. Identify and correct obvious fire hazards such as accumulations of combustible fluids or grease, leaking hydraulic and coolant hoses or fuel supply lines, and cracked or blistered flanges on hydraulic and coolant hoses and connections at the hydraulic pump.
Install audible and visible alarms in the cab to alert equipment operators to fires.
Ensure proper design, installation and maintenance of manual and automatic fire suppression systems. Follow National Fire Protection Association standards for dry and wet chemical extinguishing systems – NFPA 17 and 17A, respectively – as well as manufacturer recommendations.
Route actuation and expellant gas hoses away from the engine compartment, heat sources, electrical wires and moving parts, or ensure they have a heat-resistant fire jacket.
Ensure actuation hoses mounted to removable covers are secured in such a manner to prevent damage from wear and potential contact with heat sources.