According to federal statistics, there were 11 fatal accidents at surface coal operations alone last year, seven of which involved rock or coal trucks. Of those seven, which accounted for 64% of the accidents, four involved contract miners.
Even more interestingly, all but one of the truck drivers involved in the incidents were working the day shift, and all but one occurred prior to 10am.
Four of the operators had less than a year of experience at their home mine.
MSHA pointed out that truck operators are not likely to have an accident just because of the duties they have been selected to perform.
“Training, experience, proper maintenance and prudent operation of equipment will provide the necessary factors to keep you safely behind the wheel throughout 2010 and beyond,” the agency said.
To help prevent similar incidents going forward, MSHA has urged operations to conduct pre-operational safety checks of mobile equipment and maintain the braking and steering systems of equipment to keep it in good repair.
Vehicles should also be operated in the appropriate gear at all times, and the capabilities, operating ranges, load limits and safety features of the unit should never be exceeded.
MSHA also reminded operators to always wear a seat belt and never exit a vehicle still in motion.
“Most miners receive fatal injuries after jumping from the cab and being run over by the truck,” the agency said.