Heed SLAM rules to identify hazards

FEDERAL regulators urged US coal mine workers this week to remember to SLAM – Stop, Look, Analyze and Manage – to identify all potential hazards at the surface and underground.

Angie Tomlinson

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration highlighted the practice as part of a fatalgram regarding the death of bulldozer operator Rodney Blevins, 40, who died October 22 at the AM&E Mine No. 1 complex in Kentucky.

The 13-year mining veteran was operating a Model D8-R Caterpillar dozer, constructing a new bench to prepare for an excavator, when his unit overturned and fell sideways down a steep 80ft incline. It was his first day working at AM&E.

To help prevent similar accidents at other operations across the country, MSHA released its best practices after reviewing the incident. They include:

Stop, Look, Analyze and Manage (SLAM) each task to identify all potential hazards. Initiate action to protect yourself when performing every task;

Train all equipment operators on proper work procedures and hazard recognition before they operate equipment;

Keep the dozer blade between you and the edge when operating close to drop-offs;

Always wear seatbelts when operating mobile equipment;

Conduct pre-operational checks to identify any defects affecting safe equipment operation before placing equipment into service; and

Maintain equipment braking and steering systems in good repair.

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.

Blevins’ death was the 25th in US coal mining in 2008, and the ninth classified as a Machinery fatality by MSHA.

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