October Especially Cruel to Metal, Nonmetal Mines

A Fatal Alert posted by MSHA says this category of mines has experienced more fatalities in October than in any other month during the past 11 years.

Fifty-five deaths recorded in October during the past 11 years at U.S. metal and nonmetal mines make that month the most deadly of the year for this category, the Mine Safety and Health Administration states in a newly posted Fatal Alert.

The one-page alert urges these mines to ensure they are following nine best practices to reduce risks. These practices include five that concern mobile equipment. Operators should inspect them for safety defects before operating them, should make certain they are in a safe condition if leaving them unattended, should sound an audible warning before moving them, and should wear seat belts while operating them, the document states. The final best practice for mobile equipment says workers shouldn't approach any piece of mobile equipment without first making contact with the operator and receiving confirmation the operator is aware of their presence.

Other best practices include wearing fall protection where there is a danger of falling and never working or passing under a suspended load.

Personnel who are beneath overhead work areas should be removed, and the lower area should be barricaded, the alert says.

The final best practice concerns locking out and tagging out equipment before proceeding with maintenance work on it.

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