MSHA Alert: Maintenance Safety

Therese Dunphy

February 7, 2013

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports that the second metal/non-metal fatality of 2013 took place on Jan. 21, when a 54-year-old mechanic with six years of experience was killed at a lime operation. The mechanic was on the pre-heat deck of a kiln repairing a leaking hydraulic cylinder that activates a pusher arm on the kiln. He was caught between the corner of the angle iron and the plate connecting the push rods.

MSHA recommends the following best practices in this area:

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed along with the methods to properly protect persons.
  • Always follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures when conducting repairs to machinery.
  • Task train all persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and understand safe job procedures to eliminate all hazards before beginning work.
  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure that the equipment power circuits are locked out/tagged out and that the equipment is blocked against hazardous motion.
  • Require all persons to be positioned to prevent them from being exposed to any hazards.
  • Monitor personnel to ensure safe work procedures, including lock out/ tag out and safe work positioning, are followed.
  • Ensure guarding is in place to cover potential pinch points and moving parts in areas routinely accessed by personnel.

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