MSHA issues cautionary tale

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has released details of the accidental death of a 57-year-old mine worker in an attempt to encourage others in the industry to take safety seriously.

Christine Feary

A fire boss with 15 years of mining experience was fatally injured late last year when he fell approximately 39ft from an elevated conveyer belt at Mammoth Coal Company's No. 130 Mine in West Virginia.

He had been lying on the bottom belt surface attempting to replace a bottom conveyer belt roller when the belt started, carrying him almost 50ft before the fall.

The man died 10 days after the accident.

MSHA has taken the opportunity to remind mine workers of safety practices that can prevent further incidents of this kind.

  • De-energise electrical power and block belt against motion prior to performing maintenance or repairs on belt conveyors;
  • Before starting a belt conveyer visually check that all persons are clear or provide an audible or visible warning system to warn persons that the conveyor is starting; and
  • Use appropriate fall protection equipment when working from elevated positions when a fall hazard exists.

This was the 32nd fatality reported for 2007 in the US coal mining industry, with an increasing number of deaths related to falls.

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