Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA

THE electrocution death of a 24-year-old worker at Massey Energy's Aracoma No 1 operation last week has prompted federal regulators to release prevention tips for other mines.
Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA Lock-out and tag-out always: MSHA

The scene of a worker accident at Massey's Aracoma mine. Courtesy MSHA.

Donna Schmidt

Nathan Dove died the evening of May 16 while making repairs underground to a Joy 10SC shuttlcar's trailing cable. According to the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, the worker used his cable cutter tool to butt into an energized lead.

Company, state and federal investigations into the incident are ongoing, but Thursday MSHA released a series of best practices for other mines in hopes that future such incidents can be prevented.

They include:

Personally lock-out and tag-out electrical circuits before you perform electrical work on a cable or component;

Do not rely on anyone else to de-energize or disconnect a circuit;

Maintain multiple locks and tags available to lock circuits

Maintain electrical meters and testing instruments in good condition to verify that the circuit is de-energized before beginning work; and

Communicate your intentions to work on an electrical circuit to ensure the circuit is, and remains, protected.

To date, mine owner Massey Energy has not released a written public statement, but last week told the Associated Press: “Our focus is currently on the family and the co-workers."

As always, the agency invites the input of the industry regarding other ways to work safely around electrical situations. Those wishing to submit suggestions should include the year and fatality number for the death.

Dove's death was the ninth in the nation's coal mines in 2008, and the second classified by MSHA under Electrical. This time last year, there were six fatalities under the classification.

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