Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality

FEDERAL regulators are reminding US mine workers about the importance of locking and tagging out after a miner was killed at an Alabama underground mine.
Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality Safety best practice emphasis after Alabama fatality

 

Donna Schmidt

Electrician Harold Ennis, 37, was killed on March 23 at Drummond Coal’s Shoal Creek longwall operation when he came into contact with the energized conductors of a shuttle car trailing cable. He had been making final connections for a replacement cable reel when the accident occurred.

In the hope of preventing similar accidents in the future, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration released a summary of best practices as part of its preliminary investigation findings, including the development of hazard analysis work plans before repair work.

Before performing electrical work, all equipment should be locked out and tagged out, and workers should always conduct their own lock/tag-out and not rely on anyone else to de-energize circuits.

Additionally, the MSHA said the use of proper personal protective equipment is vital for all electrical work. It also advised that personal distractions should be eliminated while work is ongoing.

MSHA said all electrical circuits and circuit breakers should be identified properly before troubleshooting or performing work and properly rated non-contact voltage testers should be used to ensure circuits are de-energized.

Ennis’ death was the sixth in the US this year, and the fifth consecutive weekend fatality at a coal operation. It is the first in 2012 to be classified by the agency as an electrical accident.

Shoal Creek, which is located in Jefferson, Walker and Tuscaloosa counties, is Drummond’s only underground operation in the US. It has a surface mining complex, also in Alabama, as well as holdings in Colombia. 

The medium-volatile, low-sulfur metallurgical coal-producing operation is the largest mine in Alabama and among the largest underground operations in the US.

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