MSHA Alert: Two Deaths in 24 Hours

February 2, 2017

MSHA has posted a Fatal Accident Alert after two mining deaths within 24 hours occurred. In each accident, the victim was working alone and in a restricted area where there were hazardous conditions. These deaths highlight the need to observe best practices to avoid hazardous areas and avoid working alone, among other tips.

  • On January 25, 2017, a miner was found in an underground limestone mine after failing to exit the mine at the end of his shift. The miner was found under material that had fallen on him from a rib in an area of the mine that had been barricaded to prevent entry due to bad roof and rib conditions.
  • On January 26, 2017, a coal miner was discovered entangled at a conveyor belt drive, also after failing to exit the mine at the end of his shift. In both of these instances the victims were working alone and in restricted areas where there were hazardous conditions.

Best Practices for Workers Alone on a Jobsite

  • Never enter hazardous areas that have been dangered-off or otherwise identified to prohibit entry.
  • Develop and train miners on a method that clearly alerts miners not to enter hazardous areas.
  • If possible, do not work alone. If working alone, communicate intended movements to a responsible person.
  • Before beginning any task, identify known and potential hazards.
  • Never perform work on a moving conveyor belt.
  • Ensure equipment guards are adequate and secure to prevent miners from contacting moving machine parts.
  • Before working on equipment, de-energize electrical power, lock and tag the visual disconnect with your lock and tag, and block parts that can move against motion

In other MSHA news-

Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines; Proposed Rule: Extension of Reopened Comment Period

On February 6, 2017, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will publish a notice in the Federal Register extending the reopened comment period for its proposed rule on Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines (80 FR 53070).  The proposed rule would require underground coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with proximity detection systems.  Miners working near these machines face pinning, crushing, and striking hazards that result in accidents involving life-threatening injuries and death. 

MSHA reopened the rulemaking record for 30 days to request information and data on issues raised by commenters during the comment period and on issues and observations that developed after the record closed on December 15, 2015 (82 FR 2285).  This notice further extends the comment period for 60 days from February 8, to April 10, 2017.  The information and data received during the comment period will inform MSHA’s final rule.

The notice will be available for viewing on Friday, February 3, 2017, at 8:45 a.m. at the Office of the Federal Register, Public Inspection Desk.