MSHA reminds workers to tie off

AFTER a rash of fatalities this year involving falls at mining operations, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a work safety reminder to use safety belts and lines.

Donna Schmidt

Between April and August of 2007, the agency said, there were six miner deaths that occurred when the workers fell from elevated equipment and structures.

"In each accident fall protection was either not worn or secured," MSHA noted.

The agency cited each of the incidents, the most recent being this month's triple fatality at an Illinois mine when a muck bucket tipped and the contractors fell more than 570 feet.

In an effort to reduce these types of incidents, MSHA has issued a collection of best practices for operations to follow. They include:

Ensure fall protection gear is properly worn and securely fastened at all times when there is a danger of falling;

Ensure workers are trained and understand the proper use of fall protection equipment;

Properly maintain fall protection equipment; and

Where possible, protect and guard all openings and platforms where persons may fall.