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MSHA Reports Year’s First Fatalities


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that on Jan. 5, a 55-year-old contract miner received fatal injuries when he was pinned between a pneumatically powered air lock equipment door and the concrete rib barrier located near the shaft bottom.

This was the first fatality reported in calendar year 2019 in the mining industry and it was classified as Machinery. As of that date in 2018 there were no fatalities in the mining industry. 

MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:

  • Design and maintain ventilation controls, including airlock doors to provide air separation and permit travel between or within air courses or entries.
  • Ensure that airlock doors are designed and maintained to prevent simultaneous opening of both sets of doors. 
  • Ensure miners are trained in the proper use of automatic doors and procedures to follow in the event the doors malfunction.
  • Provide means to override automatic airlock doors and allow manual operation in case of an emergency.
  • Keep the path of automatic doors clear of miners and equipment.
  • When changes in ventilation are made, test automatic doors to ensure they operate safely under the new conditions.
  • Perform thorough examinations of airlock doors to assure safe operating conditions. When a hazardous condition is found, remove the doors from service until they are repaired.

MSHA also reported that on Jan. 14, a 56-year-old survey crew member with approximately 30 years of mining experience was fatally injured after he was struck by a loaded shuttle car. The victim was measuring the mining height in an entry that was part of the travelway used by the shuttle car to access the section feeder.  

This was the second fatality reported in calendar year 2019 in the mining industry and it was classified as Powered Haulage. As of that date in 2018 there were no fatalities in the mining industry.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:

  • Before performing work in an active haulage travelway, communicate your position and intended movements to mobile equipment operators and park mobile equipment until work has been completed.
  • Never assume mobile equipment operators can see you. Always wear reflective clothing and permissible strobe lights to ensure high visibility when traveling or working where mobile equipment is operating.
  • Be aware of blind spots on mobile equipment when traveling in the same areas where mobile equipment operates.
  • Place visible warning and barrier devices at all entrances to areas prior to performing work in active travelways of mobile equipment.
  • Operate mobile equipment at safe speeds and sound audible warnings when visibility is obstructed, making turns, reversing direction, etc. Ensure sound levels of audible warnings are significantly higher than ambient noise.
  • Ensure directional lights are on when equipment is being operated. Maintain all lights provided on mobile equipment in proper working condition at all times.
MSHA