Stay Alive by Analyzing Common Mining Fatalities
According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), there were 26 work-related deaths in 2016—the lowest fatality rate ever recorded in mining history. While the latest report is a welcome development for over 13,000 mines across the United States, MSHA underscores there is still work to be done in terms of protecting the safety of roughly 330,000 miners in the US. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mining fatalities and identify what can be done to prevent them in the future: Wall, bank, and slope stability Historical fatalities:
- A company president was removing materials from the base of a highwall when it collapsed. He was fatally injured inside the front-end loader’s cab.
- Mining methods were not used to maintain the bank and slope stability of an excavator, which caused equipment to slide down and crush the operator inside.
- A mine foreman was buried when the highwall collapsed while he was operating a bulldozer near the area.
- According to 30 CFR § 56.3130 standards, mining methods must be used to keep the wall, bank, and slope stable in areas where individuals must work or travel to perform related tasks.
- If benching is needed, the height and width must be based on the kind of equipment that is used to clean benches or scale walls, slopes or banks.
- Hazardous ground conditions not corrected or barricaded caused an operator of a front-end loader to be buried underneath a fallen highwall.
- A trench wall—which was not supported or sloped—partially collapsed and engulfed the victim.
- A grade setter suffered fatal injuries when he entered a hazardous excavation site that was not supported, taken down, and did not have proper warning signs.
- In line with 30 CFR § 56.3200, hazard-causing ground conditions must be taken down or supported before allowing individuals to work or travel in the affected areas.
- Entry warning signs must be posted in the area until corrective measures have been taken.
- Install barriers in unattended areas to prevent any form of unauthorized entry.
- A trench wall collapsed and buried a contractor who was not trained to work in or near trenches.
- A mine operator did not provide task training to a miner who received fatal burns from the steam of the reaction tank that he was cleaning.
- A plant laborer suffered fatal injuries when his arm got drawn into a conveyor belt while attempting to adjust an idler roller. He did not receive task training.
- Comply with 30 CFR §46.7(a) and provide training to miners who are reassigned to new task and have not received related health and safety training.
- The training must include safe work procedures about the new task, health and physical hazards of the chemicals in the work area, corresponding protective measures against such hazards, and the HazCom program of the mine.