Compliance Guide Offered for Guarding Mining Conveyors

MSHA posted the guide June 24. It will help metal and nonmetal mine safety personnel comply with 30 CFR 56/57.14107, Moving Machine Parts, which is the most-cited standard for this part of the mining industry since 2005.

Safety personnel working at metal and nonmetal mines should welcome a new compliance guide from MSHA that uses many photos from mine operations to illustrate how conveyors can be properly guarded. The relevant standard, 30 CFR 56/57.14107, Moving Machine Parts, is the most-cited standard for this part of the mining industry since 2005, according to the guide, which includes a graph showing from 2005 to May 20, 2010, 35,653 citations were issued -- 11,687 were significant and substantial (S&S) citations, while 23,966 were not S&S.

The guide discusses three types of guarding that can be used: point-of-contact guarding, location guarding, and area guarding, which is frequently used. An area guard is a barrier preventing a miner from entering an area containing moving machine parts. To be effective, area guards may require warning signs, locks, color coding, and more in addition to the physical barrier, the guide states. It says mine operators should consider these when designing, installing, and/or using area guards:

  • Is the area guard difficult to defeat?
  • Is it locked or bolted?
  • Does the guard prevent entry into the area and is the guard difficult to defeat?
  • How will the moving machine parts be shut down before entry?
  • Will the guard be interlocked with the hazardous equipment so entry will automatically shut down the moving parts?
  • Will manual shutdown be used?
  • Is the area guard easily recognized as a guard?
  • Are warning signs or color coding in use?
  • Frequency of entry into the guarded area (frequently accessed areas may not be suitable for area guarding)
  • Number of people requiring access into guarded area (when a large number of people need access to an area, area guarding may not be suitable)
  • Education and training in proper procedures
  • Have lockout/tagout procedures been addressed?

A chain stretched across an access point is not sufficient, nor is plastic construction fencing, the guide states. The guide illustrates how to secure guards firmly in place and how return rollers on conveyors can be guarded.

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