MSHA Alert: Four fatal accidents occurred during Q3 2013

| Published on November 7, 2013

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The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported on Thursday that four fatal metal and nonmetal mining accidents accidents occurred in the U.S. during the third quarter of 2013.

MSHA released the information in its summary of U.S. mining deaths that occurred from July 1 to September 30, which shows that the number of fatal accidents was two fewer than during the third quarter in 2012.

Of the four fatal accidents, two involved powered haulage, one was a machinery accident and the other was a falling or sliding material accident. (The initial MSHA alert on three of these accidents is available here.)

Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, noted that many of the fatalities that have occurred were preventable.

“In metal [and] nonmetal mining, fatalities continue to occur that could be prevented by using ‘lock out/tag out’ best practices,” Main said. “Two of the fatalities this quarter could have been avoided by: disconnecting the power, ensuring the miner on the job has locked the power source in the safe position and tagging to prevent the power from being re-energized.

“While actions undertaken by MSHA and the mining industry continue to move mine safety in the right direction, these deaths are a reminder that much more needs to be done to protect the nation’s miners and ensure they return home after every shift,” Main added.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to prevent powered haulage accidents:

  • Provide and maintain adequate berms or guardrails on the banks of roadways where a drop-off exists.

  • Conduct adequate pre-operational checks prior to operating mobile equipment.

  • Always wear a seat belt when operating self-propelled mobile equipment.

  • Maintain control of self-propelled mobile equipment.

  • Operate mobile equipment at speeds consistent with the conditions of roadways, tracks, grades, clearance, visibility, curves and traffic.

  • Do not exit or jump from moving mobile equipment.

  • Task train mobile equipment operators and ensure they demonstrate proficiency in all phases of mobile equipment operation before performing work.

  • Conduct adequate pre-operational checks prior to operating mobile equipment.

  • Ensure that loads are stable and secured before transporting.

  • Never exceed equipment manufacturer’s load limits.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to prevent falling/sliding material accidents:

  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing a hopper.

  • Equip hoppers with mechanical devices or other effective means of handling material so persons are not required to work where they are exposed to entrapment by sliding material.

  • Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of material and prevent clogging.

  • Task train persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.

  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure that the discharge operating controls are deenergized and locked out.

  • Wear a safety harness and lanyard, which is securely anchored and tended by another person, prior to entering bins, hoppers, tanks, or silos.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to prevent machinery accidents:

  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing a cone crusher. Consider a mechanical method for clearing material to minimize exposure to persons performing the work.

  • Task train persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.

  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure the equipment power is off and locked out/tagged out. Ensure the equipment has been securely blocked against hazardous motion to ensure energy cannot be released while performing work.

  • Always maintain equipment in a safe operating condition.

  • Provide a safe means of access for persons required to maintain a cone crusher.

  • Provide guards, shields, or other devices to protect persons from the hazard or flying or falling materials generated from the operation of screens, crushers, or conveyors.

  • Implement measures to ensure persons are properly positioned and protected from hazards while performing a task.

To view the full report, click here.

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