The seventh metal/non-metal fatality of 2020 involved a “Material Handling” incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.
On May 2, 2020, a miner entered a dredged sand and gravel bin through a lower access hatch to clear an obstruction. The miner was clearing the blockage with a bar when the material inside the bin fell and engulfed him. The accident marks the seventh fatality of the year and the second classified as material handling.
MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents:
- Lock-out, tag-out. Never enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
- Train miners to recognize and safely remove all potential hazards before beginning work and when clearing blocked hoppers.
- Equip bins with mechanical devices such as vibrating shakers or air cannons to loosen blockages, or provide other effective means of handling material so miners are not exposed to entrapment hazards by falling or sliding material.
- Follow manufacturer recommendations for clearing out blockages.
- Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing bins.
- Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of the material and prevent clogging.