Two mining fatalities in mid-March show how dangerous the industry can be even for experienced workers who are aware of the hazards involved.

On March 14, 2018, a 56-year old crusher maintenance worker was killed while installing discharge chutes on the screen deck. The man – who had 15 years’ experience - sustained a traumatic head injury when a suspended chute shifted and struck him.

Two days later, a 34-year-old mechanic was operating a diesel personnel carrier on the mine haulage road when the vehicle hit the right rib and rolled onto its left side. The victim was partially ejected from the mantrip and the canopy of the mantrip landed on his chest. That employee had 16 years of total mining experience.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued best practices to help prevent accidents of both kinds going forward.

In the first instance, the MSHA recommends:

• Staying clear of a suspended load.
• Following proper rigging procedures when lifting loads.
• Establishing safe work procedures and identify and remove hazards before beginning repair or maintenance tasks. Follow the equipment manufacturer's procedures for the work being performed to ensure that all hazards have been addressed.
• Using welded lifting eyes that are specifically intended for lifting and adequately rated for the loads being lifted.
• Carefully inspect all rigging prior to each use.

In the second case, the MSHA recommends:

• Operating all mobile equipment at speeds that are consistent with the type of equipment, roadway conditions, grades, clearances, visibility, and other traffic.
• Installing mechanical devices that limit the top speeds of fast-moving equipment.
• Traveling at safe speeds so that mobile equipment can be stopped within the limits of visibility.
• Maintain haulage roadways so that they are free from bottom irregularities, debris, and wet or muddy conditions that affect the control of the equipment.