Proximity protection vital: MSHA report

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration has stressed the importance of proximity protection systems to prevent pinning accidents after a worker was killed last month at the Pattiki operation in Illinois.

Donna Schmidt

Tim Adamson, 45, was crushed between the cable horn on a radio-controlled continuous mining machine and the coal rib at about 2.30pm local time October 16. The victim at the Alliance Resource Partners operation was positioning the unit while standing next to the horn at the time of the incident.

There were no witnesses to the event that took the life of the eight-year mining veteran, MSHA noted. The coal seam height at the scene was 5.5ft.

To help prevent similar such accidents in the future across the nation’s mines, the agency compiled a list of best practices. They include:

Install and maintain electronic proximity detection devices;

Develop proactive programs, policies and procedures for starting and tramming remote-controlled continuous mining machines;

Train all production crews and management in the programs, policies and procedures and ensure that they are followed;

Ensure that mining machine operators are in a safe location while tramming the continuous mining machine from place to place or in the entry during cutting and loading; and

Ensure everyone is outside the machine turning radius before starting or moving the equipment.

The agency has also encouraged industry suggestions for other remedies to prevent this type of accident going forward. When submitting suggestions, it asks for the year of the fatality as well as the number.

Adamson’s death was the 23rd reported in the US this year in coal, and the eighth to be classified by MSHA as a Machinery fatality.

According to federal statistics, the last death at Pattiki occurred in 2000. It was the first coal death in the state of Illinois since 2003.

Pattiki employs 300 workers and produced about 2.8 million tons of coal last year. It had 14 non fatal days lost (NFDL) operator injuries throughout last year on over 764,000 total man-hours, according to MSHA statistics.

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