August 9, 2012
A 49-year old equipment operator at Strata Corp. with 18 weeks of mining experience was killed on July 26 at a portable crushing operation, according to a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) report.
The equipment operator was standing on the discharge end of a 150-foot stacker belt conveyor, greasing the head pulley, when a co-worker started the conveyor, according to the MSHA report. The victim fell off the conveyor about 50 feet to the ground below.
This is the 10th fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal and non-metal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there were six fatalities reported in these industries. This is the fifth powered haulage fatality in 2012. There was one powered haulage fatality in the same period in 2011.
MSHA is suggesting the following best practices to avoid future accidents of this type:
- Provide and maintain a safe means of access to all working places.
- Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
- Ensure that persons are task trained and understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
- Deenergize and lockout/tagout all power sources before working on belt conveyors.
- Block belt conveyors against motion before working near a drive, head, tail, and take-up pulleys.
- Maintain communications with all persons performing the task. Before starting belt conveyors, ensure that all persons are clear.
- Sound an audible alarm prior to start up, if the entire length of the belt conveyor is not visible from the starting switch.
- Clearly label all switches on equipment and provide training to persons who operate and work in the vicinity of equipment.