MSHA enforcement alert

Kerry Clines

July 9, 2009

According to one state association, one of its members recently received a citation from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for failure to install handrails on a Cat 345 D excavator. The excavator in question had a factory-installed handrail beside the steps leading up to the cab, but the citation stated that the working platform had no handrails. It stated that there was a 44-inch opening on the cab side and a 72-inch opening on the opposite side, and that the platform was approximately 8 feet above ground level, which exposed miners to the possibility of injuries.

The association member was justifiably concerned about this violation. Equipment manufacturers and dealers are working with aggregates producers to get machines into compliance with MSHA directives. Cat installs handrails on its equipment in compliance with ISO 2867 and SAE J185 regulations, which state: “10.3 — Platforms and walkways shall be provided with guardrails if the vertical distance from the open side of a platform or walkway is greater than 3 meters above the ground or another platform.”

There seems to be some discrepancy in height limits. Be alert for MSHA compliance/enforcement activities focusing on this issue.

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