Top tips for highwall, berm and stockpile safety

Therese Dunphy

December 18, 2013


To keep your operation’s employees safe when working around and with stockpiles and highwalls, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) offers these five best practices:

  • Be aware of overhanging material when loading from stockpiles and highwalls.

  • Stay back from the edge and build a berm.

  • Stay clear of draw points above surge tunnels.

  • Always scale the highwall back.

  • Never place yourself between the equipment and the stockpile or highwall.

Here are some more tips to ensure worker safety near highwalls and berms:

1.     Inspect, inspect, inspect. Build good berms, inspect them and maintain them.

2.     Control access to highwalls and stockpiles.

3.     Be aware of your surroundings and control your hazards. Conduct examinations of the highwall before, during and after every rain, freeze, or thaw.

4.     Inspect your stockpile and berms. Inspect and evaluate them and eliminate or control any hazards. Scale down loose, hazardous material and do not work under loose material for any reason.

5.     If it’s a new pit, call for your locates and know what’s in the ground. You don’t want to hit a major gasline or pipeline.

6.     Pay special attention when working in the corners of box cuts.

7.     Increase the number of benches at each highwall to catch falling material.

To see an MSHA alert on highwall safety, click here.

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