Occupational Health & Safety

Forklift Accident Prompts MSHA Fatalgram

MSHA's report said the Oct. 24 death on the surface of an underground limestone mine was the 16th fatality recorded this calendar year in the metal and nonmetal mining industries.

Metal and nonmetal mining fatalities are trending in the wrong direction this year, with an Oct. 24 forklift accident resulting in the 16th death in those industries, MSHA reported in a Nov. 5 Fatalgram posted on its homepage. At the same point last year, 10 miners in this category had died.

The Oct. 24 victim was a 52-year-old utility miner with 19 years of experience who was operating the forklift on the surface of an underground limestone mine. The forklift was traveling on a decline toward the mine entrance when it "went out of control. The forklift struck a concrete support for the belt conveyor and overturned, killing him," MSHA reported.

The document listed these best practices to prevent such incidents:

  • Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and ensure the service brakes are properly maintained and will stop and hold the mobile equipment prior to operating.
  • Ensure mobile equipment operators are adequately task trained in all phases of mobile equipment operation before performing work.
  • Ensure the load is stable and secured on the forks of the forklift.
  • When descending a grade, operate the forklift with the load in the upgrade position.
  • Maintain control of self-propelled mobile equipment while it is in motion.
  • Operating speeds shall be consistent with conditions of roadways, tracks, grades, clearance, visibility, curves, and traffic.
  • Operate equipment within its designed limitations. Slow down or drop to a lower gear when necessary. Post areas where lower speeds are warranted.
  • Always wear a seat belt when operating self-propelled mobile equipment.

The deaths is the sixth powered haulage fatality in mining this year, up from two during the same period in 2011.

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