Increased MSHA Scrutiny on Fall Protection on Mobile Equipment

Kerry Clines

August 3, 2009

In recent weeks, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) says it has been made aware of Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) enforcement of what it considers to be shortcomings in fall protection on new mobile equipment — lack of hand -rails on elevated work platforms. MSHA regulations require protection against falls of any distance. The NSSGA checked with the agency, and learned that there is no new guidance on this issue.  

Manufacturers of the equipment assert that their equipment meets standards set forth by such organizations as ISO and SAE (MSHA is under no obligation to recognize either standards). Further, manufacturers assert that the retrofitting of such machines with increased fall protection (stairs or hand rails, or anchors for tie-off points) could undermine its structural integrity and, in some cases, could negatively impact product warranty. 

The mine operator is always responsible for ensuring their equipment is in compliance. The home page on MSHA’s Web site provides a list of equipment that has been preapproved by the MSHA technical support division. If equipment is not on that list, mine operators run the risk of purchasing products that are not MSHA compliant.   

NSSGA says its Safety and Health committee is looking into the matter, and that any questions regarding this matter should be directed to Joseph Casper at (703) 526-1074,

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