'Alarming' Rise in Mining Struck-By Incidents: MSHA

Eighty-five miners have been hurt in this way since the start of 2010, according to the agency.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration is urging mine operators and workers to be more vigilant in preventing struck-by incidents involving moving mine equipment. MSHA posted a notice June 4 saying 85 miners have been hurt in this way since the start of 2010, including 26 who were permanently partially or totally disabled and 51 who "had lost time accidents involving continuous miners, shuttle cars, ramcars, mantrips and scoops."

"There has been an alarming upward trend of serious and fatal injuries involving miners who are being crushed, run over, pinned by, or struck by moving mining equipment," the agency's notice stated. It lists these best practices for preventing them:

  • Install and maintain electronic proximity detection devices.
  • Stay out of the red zone when the continuous miner is operating.
  • Always walk behind mobile equipment. Never walk in front of a shuttle car or scoop.
  • Sound warnings when starting and tramming equipment, making tight turns, reversing direction, or approaching curtains.
  • Use transparent curtains wherever possible to enhance visibility.
  • Install cameras on shuttlecars and ramcars.
  • Never obstruct visibility by overloading haulage equipment, especially in lower coal seams.
  • Exercise caution and signal your presence to mobile equipment operators.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the travel routes of shuttlecars and scoops, especially when proceeding inby the tailpiece on foot.
  • Provide miners on foot with small permissible flashing strobe lights that can be clipped to clothing or carried.
  • Wear reflective clothing to ensure higher visibility when walking or working near moving equipment.

The most recent fatality report of this type posted by the agency is the May 28, 2012, death of a 51-year old shift operator with 13 years of experience who died at Lehigh Northeast Cement Company's Glen Falls Plant. He was found near the plant's crane bay building after being struck by a front-end loader as he walked from the lunchroom toward the locker area. This was the eighth fatality reported in 2012 in the metal and nonmetal mining, three more than during the same period in 2011.

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