MSHA Issues Safety Alert for Miners Operating Near Water

MSHA Issues Safety Alert for Miners Operating Near Water

Miners should take these recommended precautions when working near water.

Following a series of drowning incidents involving mobile equipment near bodies of water, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued a new safety alert. 

According to the MSHA website, 19 drowning accidents were reported between 2010 and 2023, with over half resulting from submerged equipment. MSHA's alert emphasizes mine operators must conduct thorough workplace examinations to identify and mitigate hazards near water sources. Mobile equipment must be operated at a safe distance from water to prevent accidental submersion, and seatbealts should be used.

MSHA also highlights the availability and importance of emergency underwater breathing devices. These devices could dramatically increase the chances of survival for miners if they fall into water. MSHA suggests they should be provided to miners, along with proper training on their use.

Best practices outlined by MSHA include the provision of emergency underwater breathing devices, accessible water rescue equipment and the development of an underwater emergency egress kit. This should include a nose clip, mask, underwater breathing device, glass-breaking tool and personal flotation device (PFD). 

In particular, MSHA advises that miners at risk of falling into water should be provided with and wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I or Type V PFD. This recommendation aims to enhance the safety and survivability of miners working near water.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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