Coal mineStruck-by accidents in the mining industry have increased sharply, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which issued a Safety Alert last week in an attempt to prevent that type of accident.

“There has been an alarming upward trend of serious and fatal injuries involving miners who are being crushed, run over, pinned by, or struck by, moving mining equipment,” according to the MSHA.

Since January 1, 2010, eighty five miners have been injured by mobile equipment. That figure includes eight miners who were killed in accidents involving mobile face equipment. Of the total number of miners injured, twenty six were permanently disabled -- either partially or totally by accidents involving mobile equipment. Fifty-one were involved in lost time accidents involving continuous miners, shuttle cars, ramcars, mantrips and scoops.

The MSHA said this type of accident can be prevented, by following best practices:

  • Install and maintain electronic proximity detection devices. See the proximity detection single source page on the MSHA website.
  • Stay out of the red zone when the continuous miner is operating.
  • Always walk behind mobile equipment. Never walk in front of a shuttle car or scoop.
  • Sound warnings when starting and tramming equipment, making tight turns, reversing direction, or approaching curtains.
  • Use transparent curtains wherever possible to enhance visibility.
  • Install cameras on shuttlecars and ramcars.
  • Never obstruct visibility by overloading haulage equipment, especially in lower coal seams.
  • Exercise caution and signal your presence to mobile equipment operators.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the travel routes of shuttlecars and scoops especially when proceeding inby the tailpiece on foot.
  • Provide miners on foot with small permissible flashing strobe lights that can be clipped to clothing or carried.
  • Wear reflective clothing to ensure higher visibility when walking or working near moving equipment.