According to federal records, 76 US miners were killed between January 2000 and July 2011 as a result of being struck by surface and underground equipment. It is for that reason that, besides good communication, workers must take the extra steps to be seen with reflective materials on their person.
At the surface, the agency recommends the use of strobe lights or flags on smaller passenger vehicles to ensure that large equipment operators can see them readily.
Also, operators should work to minimize those situations which create a need for smaller vehicles to approach large mobile equipment, including an arrangement for haul truck drivers to have supplies available at a pre-shift meeting place as opposed to having them delivered to the truck.
Individuals should wear highly-visible reflective clothing that allows them to be seen for 360 degrees, hard hat included, when the arms are up or down or when the body is in any position.
Also at the surface, individuals in a work area must remember effective communication and use two-way radios or other systems to let others know their locations.
While working underground, MSHA reminds all miners to wear reflective clothing at all times as well as suitable hard hats that have at least six square inches of reflective material on each side and on the back.
When moving around below the surface around other equipment or before leaving an area, nearby equipment operators should be notified of one’s intentions and the pedestrian should wait for confirmation prior to movement.
“Communicate your position to equipment operators,” MSHA stressed.
“Before entering an area you normally would not enter, let the equipment operator know you are there and get acknowledgement you are seen.”
The agency also reminded operations to use any and all communications methods necessary to ensure that workers moving about can be seen and stay alive.
For a printable version of this alert, visit the MSHA web site.