MSHA releases final report on machinery fatality

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published the final report on a Nov. 16, 2019 fatality involving a contractor who stepped into the path of a bulldozer while spotting for a dump truck.

MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents: 

  1. Safety first. Before starting work, establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work and properly protect workers.
  2. Know where people are. Be aware of body positioning around equipment, traffic patterns, dump sites, and haul roads.
  3. Train miners and contractors on traffic controls, mobile equipment patterns, and other site-specific hazards.
  4. Stay alert. Do not place yourself in harm’s way.
  5. Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  6. Ensure travelways are clear before moving a vehicle or mobile equipment.
  7. Look behind you. Install “rear viewing” cameras or other collision warning systems on mobile equipment. When backing up, look over your shoulder to eliminate blind spots. When using mirrors, use all available mirrors.
  8. Wear reflective material while working around mobile equipment. Use flags, visible to equipment operators, to make miners and smaller vehicles more visible.

Fatality Alert: Miner falls into portable loadout bin

The first metal/non-metal fatality of 2020 involved a “Fall of Person” incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.

A miner fell into a portable loadout bin on Jan. 8, 2020, and died at the scene, according to a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) fatality alert. It was the first fatality of 2020 and is classified as a “Fall of Person” incident.

MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents: 

  1. Check handrails and gates. Ensure handrails and gates are substantially constructed, properly secured, and free of defects.
  2. Install mechanical flow-enhancing devices so workers do not have to enter a bin to start or maintain material flow.
  3. Don’t stand on material stored in bins. Material stored in a bin can bridge over the hopper outlet, creating a hidden void below the material surface.
  4. Lock-out, tag-out. Do not enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
  5. Wear a safety belt or harness secured with a lanyard to an adequate anchor point before entering a bin. Station a second person near the anchor point to make sure there’s no slack in the fall protection system.
  6. Train all miners to recognize fall hazards and properly use fall protection.
  7. Provide safe access to all work places, and discuss and establish safe work procedures.

Additional Information: 

This is the first fatality reported in 2020, and the first fatality classified as “Fall of Person.”

MSHA increases civil monetary penalties

On Jan. 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule in the Federal Register that increases Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) civil monetary penalties by 1.764 percent.

Name/DescriptionMine Act Citation2019 Minimum Penalty2019 Maximum Penalty2020 Minimum Penalty2020 Maximum Penalty
Regular Assessment30 CFR 100.3(a) $72,620 $73,901
Penalty Conversion Table30 CFR 100.3(g)$135$72,620$137$73,901
Minimum Penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(a)$2,421 $2,464 
Minimum penalty for any order issued under 104(d)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.4(b)$4,840 $4,925 
Penalty for failure to provide timely notification under 103(j) of the Mine Act39 CFR 100.4(c)$6,052$72,620$6,159$73,901
Any operator who fails to correct a violation for which a citation or order was issued under 104(a) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(c) $7,867 $8,006
Violation of mandatory safety standards related to smoking standards30 CFR 100.5(d) $332 $338
Flagrant violations under 110(b)(2) of the Mine Act30 CFR 100.5(e) $266,275 $270,972

MSHA publishes final rule for electronic detonators

On Jan. 14, 2020, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) published a direct final rule to revise safety standards for explosives.  The rule updates existing provisions consistent with technological advancements involving electronic detonators at metal and non-metal mines.  A companion rule provides a procedural framework to finalize the rule if it receives enough adverse comments to withdraw the direct final rule. More information can be found at https://www.msha.gov/regulations/rulemaking.

Fatality Alert: Mechanic dies performing maintenance

MSHA issued a fatality alert regarding a lockout/tagout incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Fatality Alert for LafargeHolcim’s Holly Hill Facility in Orangeburg County, S.C. A contract maintenance mechanic was performing elevator maintenance when the car descended, crushing the mechanic against an elevator platform. The person died at the scene on Dec. 3, 2019.

MSHA offers the following best practices to help prevent this type of accident:

  1. De-energize, lock out and tag out, and block machinery or equipment that can injure miners – before entering the area.
  2. Post warning signs or barricades to keep miners out of areas where health or safety hazards exist.
  3. Install an audible alarm to warn of impending equipment movement.
  4. Evaluate and correct possible hazards promptly before working.
  5. Train personnel in safely using handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities. Ensure their use.

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as Machinery.