Under the proposed rule by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), haulage machinery in underground coal mines would have to be equipped with proximity detection systems. The proposed rule would better prevent miners from becoming stuck, pinned or crushed.
Proximity detection is a technology that uses electronic sensors to detect motion and the location of one object relative to another. The systems provide audible and visual warnings and automatically stop moving machines before miners get too close to the equipment.
As of June 2015, MSHA estimates that 155 of the approximately 2,116 underground coal hauling machines and scoops have already been equipped with proximity detection systems.
Coal hauling machines include shuttle cars, ram cars and continuous haulage systems.
Between 2010 and 2014, 41 pinning, crushing or striking accidents involving coal hauling machines and scoops were reported: 23 that involved coal hauling machines and 18 that involved scoops. Nine of these accidents involved fatalities that may have been prevented by the use of proximity detection systems.