This has been a difficult time for the mining community. So far this year, nine miners have been killed and 185 have been injured in accidents involving powered haulage equipment such as shuttle cars, scoops, locomotives, front end loaders and more. Year to date, this is the highest number of powered haulage fatalities since 2006. The safety of mining’s most precious resource – the miner – is a critical mission at the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
That’s why we are hosting a national Stand Down for Safety Day on July 20 focused on powered haulage and vehicle rollovers to help educate miners, save lives and prevent injuries.
Most of the workers killed or injured this year were struck by the equipment or involved in a collision. Some who weren’t killed suffered disabling injuries. Additionally, one miner was killed and nine injured in vehicle rollover incidents – a troubling trend that we all must work together to address. Too many families have been devastated by these tragedies. And the fact is, most of these incidents could have been be prevented.
When it comes to safely operating powered haulage equipment and other vehicles, remember to:
Know where others are in the workplace and communicate with them. Use radios, mirrors, cameras, headlights, strobe warning lights, horns and buggy-whip flags. Stay clear of mobile equipment blind spots.
Set mobile equipment parking brakes and chock the wheels when vehicles are unattended. Don’t stand, walk or work directly downhill of parked vehicles. Stay clear of moving vehicles.
Unload on level, stable ground.
Establish safe traffic patterns and rules. This means posting signage, ensuring workers follow traffic rules, operating within safe speed limits and approaching intersections with caution.
Use proximity detection/collision avoidance systems.
Ensure that seat belts are maintained in good condition and worn at all times.
Ensure that conveyors are deenergized, locked, tagged and blocked against motion before removing guards or beginning work.
We hope you’ll join us in getting the word out about the mining hazards and how to keep workers safe. You can find more information and resources on our website for powered haulage and vehicle rollovers, including more best practices, training presentations, safety flyers and stickers. Share the resources available on our website and follow MSHA on Twitter for more safety information at @MSHA_DOL.
Editor’s note: To report unsafe conditions, call MSHA at 1-800-746-1553 or use our online complaint system.
Jeannette Galanis is the deputy assistant secretary for policy of the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. Follow MSHA on Twitter at @MSHA_DOL.