On February 3, 2017, a 54-year-old truck driver received hip and leg fractures when he jumped from the cab of his truck as it was overturning.  The victim positioned the truck on the dump pad and began raising the bed.  Material in the bed was frozen or compacted and created an uneven load.  As the bed reached full extension, the truck fell over.  Due to complications associated with his injuries, the victim passed away 7 days later.

Best Practices

  • Stay in the cab when problems are encountered while operating the truck.  Do not jump.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment.
  • Establish safe work procedures for dumping a loaded truck and train all employees.
  • Use techniques to prevent material from freezing or sticking in truck beds.
  • After dumping, remove compacted material from the truck bed before more material is added.
  • Assure all loads are evenly distributed.
  • While dumping, use mirrors to see if the truck bed begins to lean and, if it does, immediately lower the bed.
  • Examine work areas and routinely monitor work habits to ensure that safe work procedures are followed.
  • Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), Final Report (pdf).

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, a 42-year-old miner with 23 years of mining experience was fatally injured when he contacted a moving drive roller for the section belt.  The victim was positioned between the guard and the conveyor belt drive when he came in contact with the shaft of the belt drive roller.

Best Practices

  • Before working on equipment, de-energize electrical power, lock and tag the visual disconnect with your lock and tag, and block parts that can move against motion.
  • Keep guards securely in place while working around conveyor drives.
  • When working around moving machine parts, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing such as shirts or jackets with hoods.  Secure ends of sleeves and pant legs, as well as loose items such as personal light cords.
  • Guard shaft ends such as protruding bolts, keyways or couplings.
  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working or traveling around moving conveyor belts and their associated components,

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), Final Report (pdf).

On December 2, 2016, a technical representative for a shield manufacturer, with 13 years of experience, received fatal injuries while adding components to the hydraulic system of a longwall shield.  The victim was positioned inside the shield near the hinge point when the shield collapsed and crushed him.

Best Practices

  • Ensure that miners who install, remove, or maintain shields are trained on proper procedures.
  • Never remove hydraulic components without first determining if they are pressurized and/or supporting weight.  Ensure all stored energy is released or controlled before initiating repairs.
  • Never work on hydraulic components of both supporting cylinders of longwall shields simultaneously.  A shield can collapse if hydraulic components from both cylinders are removed, even if both cylinders have functioning pilot valves.
  • Never work on a component that supports a raised portion of the shield unless the shield is blocked against motion.
  • Be aware of potential pinch points when working on or near hydraulic components.  Examine work areas for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Maintain good communication with co-workers.  Make sure those around you know your intentions.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On December 21, 2016, a 39-year old contract truck driver, with 11 months of mining experience, was injured on the surface of an underground gold mine. The victim was hauling gold ore in an over-the-road truck from the mine to the plant. While descending the roadway from the mine, the victim lost control of his truck. He traveled up an embankment and over an approximate 20 foot drop, landing back in the roadway. The victim was transported to the hospital and died from his injuries several days later.

Best Practices

  • Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment.  Never rely on engine brakes and transmission retarders as substitutes for keeping brakes properly maintained.
  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Examine haulage roads for hazardous conditions prior to permitting equipment access and especially when conditions change due to snow, ice, or water.
  • Communicate hazardous conditions to other persons using the haulage road. Ensure traffic rules, signals, and warning signs are posted and obeyed.
  • Keep roadways clear and safe for travel. Remove snow and ice which may cause loss of traction for equipment along roadways.
  • Train all employees on proper work procedures, hazard recognition and avoidance.
  • Know the truck’s capabilities, operating ranges, load-limits and properly maintain the brakes and other safety features.
  • Use chains for better traction while stopping or climbing on snow covered steep grades, consider the use of chains for better traction while stopping or climbing.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), Final Report (pdf).

Two mining deaths within 24 hours in which the victims were working alone and in restricted areas where there were hazardous conditions highlights the need to observe best practices to avoid hazardous areas and avoid working alone, among other tips. Both were in underground mines, one coal and one limestone.

Download Alert (pdf) here.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced federal inspectors issued 132 citations and two orders during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and five metal and nonmetal mines in December 2016.

MSHA conducted special impact inspections at mines in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Monthly impact inspections began in force in April 2010 at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. Since then, MSHA inspectors have conducted 1,270 impact inspections and issued 17,255 citations, 1,331 orders and 62 safeguards.

Click here for: MSHA link to spreadsheet (pdf).

On October 9, 2016, a 61 year old Equipment Operator, with 3 years of experience, was fatally injured at a sand surface mine. The victim was attempting to attach a screen plant to a front-end loader by hooking them together with a steel cable when the equipment moved pinning the victim. The victim was later discovered injured and leaning against the loader bucket. The victim died of his injuries the following day.

Best Practices

  • Never position yourself between mobile equipment and a stationary object. Always be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that have the ability to move.
  • Ensure that line of sight, background noise, or other conditions do not interfere with communication.
  • Ensure miners are adequately trained for the task they are performing.
  • Use a tow bar with adequate length and proper rating when towing heavy equipment.
  • Make yourself more visible by wearing brightly-colored clothing or clothing that is distinguishable from surroundings.
  • Operate all machinery in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating guidelines.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), The investigation will not be posted.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announces a final rule that will enhance the quality of working place examinations in metal and nonmetal mines.  The final rule improves miners’ safety and health by requiring mine operators to: (1) conduct working place examinations to identify hazards before work begins in an area, (2) notify affected miners of hazardous conditions that are not corrected immediately; and (3) record the locations examined, the adverse conditions found, and the date of the corrective action.

Check out the MSHA page here or

Download PDF of final rule here.

On December 19, 2016, a 62-year old Front-end Loader Operator with 6 years of mining experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel surface mine. The victim was engulfed by sand when entered a hopper to remove a blockage.

Best Practices

  • Task train persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.
  • Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition, specifically when clearing blocked hoppers.
  • Ensure employees use proper housekeeping procedures in order to avoid extraneous trash from inadvertently entering feed hoppers.
  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing hoppers.
  • Equip hoppers with mechanical devices, grates/grizzlies or other effective means of handling material so persons are not required to work where they are exposed to entrapment by sliding material.
  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure that the discharge operating controls are deenergized and locked out and ensure that material cannot discharge when the feeder is not activated.
  • Wear a safety harness and lanyard, which is securely anchored and tended by another person, prior to entering bins, hoppers, tanks, or silos.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (pdf).

The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced federal inspectors issued 152 citations and five orders during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and seven metal and nonmetal mines in November 2016.

MSHA conducted special impact inspections at mines in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Monthly impact inspections began in force in April 2010 at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. Since then, MSHA inspectors have conducted 1,255 impact inspections and issued 17,123 citations, 1,329 orders and 62 safeguards.

Click here for: MSHA link to spreadsheet (pdf).