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MSHA Issues Machinery Alert


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a safety alert related to using machinery. These types of injuries were the fourth most-common ones in the aggregates industry in 2014. Here is a message from Neal H. Merrifield, administrator for metal and nonmetal mine safety and health.

Dear Metal and Nonmetal Mine Operators,

Since 2011, 16 metal and nonmetal miners have died in accidents involving machinery and non-haulage mobile and quarry equipment, and many more have been seriously injured or disabled. Of the 16 persons fatally injured, six were supervisors and three were contractors. Seven miners died when they were struck by the equipment they or a co-worker were operating, four miners drowned when their equipment ran into or overturned into water, and five more died when they were caught in crushers, on drill steel or between reciprocating machinery. The equipment involved represented a wide variety of mining equipment: drills, dozers, excavators, graders, dredges and crushers.

MSHA standards require operators to maintain control of mobile equipment while it is in motion, and to operate at speeds consistent with conditions of mine roadways, tracks, grades, clearance, visibility and traffic. When mobile equipment is not in motion, it must be stopped in a safe location and when not attended, parked in a manner that prevents it from moving and becoming a hazard to the operator or other miners. In addition, mine supervisors and equipment operators need to continuously monitor and maintain roadways and berms and operate mobile equipment in a controlled, safe manner. When operating excavators, position the as far from the water’s edge as feasible on firm, stable ground. Don’t traverse unstable ground above a highwall and stay off and away from over-steepened stockpiles until they can be made safe.

MSHA plans again this month to continue walk and talks at mine sites and again enlist the partnership of mines, miners and mining industry groups in the effort to raise safety consciousness, stay safety-vigilant 24/7 and send miners home every day at the end of their shift. This month MSHA welcomes the assistance of its Alliance partner the National Sand, Stone and Gravel Association in this safety outreach. Help us spread the word about safe machine and equipment operation to mine operators, supervisors, contractors and equipment operators… all of the miners at your operations. Further, consider joining MSHA in one of the upcoming monthly campaigns. The effort is working; only two miners have died in the six months this intensive campaign has been ongoing.

Here is a link to the Machinery and Equipment Hazards Alert recently published on MSHA’s website. The Spanish language version can be found here. For more information on the mining deaths attributable to machinery and non-haulage mobile and quarry equipment operation, and for best practices to prevent such accidents, please go here. You can use the photos and accident descriptions found in the Fatalgrams in this last location to prompt discussions about fatalities and how to prevent them.