Keeping miners shock-free

AS production rates rise and the temptation to take shortcuts also increases, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration has reminded workers and mines not to take shortcuts when working with electrical circuits.

Donna Schmidt

Improper identification, the wrong circuit being disconnected, failure to use a meter and not locking and tagging out are some of the most significant issues which cause electrical injuries and deaths. In fact, according to the agency, a fatality or injury incident is seen each year due to such oversights.

“The most recent involved unplugging the wrong circuit for a pump, resulting in serious flash burns,” MSHA said.

“Victims convince themselves that they have a good excuse right up to the time of the accident.”

The agency published a safety bulletin on the topic recently, noting some common excuses for shortcuts as well as tips to prevent electrical hazards. First, MSHA said, workers must personally be sure the breaker, plug and receptacle are identified properly.

Also, when working on equipment, the involved unit should be clearly identified and its power removed. Locking and tagging out should always be performed on the visual disconnect and workers should always confirm with a meter that the circuit is not energised.

A printable copy of the safety alert is available on MSHA’s website.

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