The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Serious Accident Alert following an accident involving an excavator. On October 16, 2017, a miner was loading haul trucks with an excavator when the cab was struck by material falling from a 65-foot bank failure. Luckily, the miner was not injured.
MSHA offers the following Best Practices to help prevent this type of accident:
- Operate excavators with the cab perpendicular to, and swinging away from, the highwall.
- Train all persons to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease highwall stability and understand safe job procedures to eliminate all hazards before beginning work.
- Examine highwalls and material piles from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest), while maintaining the safety of the examiner(s). Look for cracking, displacement, or other signs of distress.
- Maintain safe access to the top of highwalls so that thorough examinations can be conducted.
- Perform supplemental examinations of highwalls, banks, benches, and sloping terrain in the working area during and following inclement weather.
- Immediately remove all personnel exposed to hazardous ground conditions, barricade and post signs to prevent entry, and promptly correct unsafe conditions.
- Use mining methods that ensure highwall and bank stability and safe working conditions. Avoid undercutting and/or oversteepening of the highwall or bank slope. Mine only material that freely flows down.