Lightning Safety Week

Jun 22, 2009

June 21 – 27 is National Lightning Safety Week. There are some good materials for work or home on the National Weather Service web page. Click here to check them out.
Is lightning a serious safety issue for you or your company? There were more people killed by lightning last year than working in Metal/Nonmetal mines. Check it out, it’s shocking! (okay, I apologize… I just had to add that last bit.)

On June 11, 2009, a 57-year old mechanic with 31 years of experience was fatally injured at an underground lead/zinc mine while checking for a hydraulic leak on a loader. The victim leaned into the ejector plate relief port in the back of the loader bucket. The ejector plate of the bucket was retracted, crushing him against the back of the bucket.

Best Practices
  • Train persons to recognize work place hazards.
  • Establish safe work procedures before a task is performed.
  • Securely block equipment and components against hazardous motion at all times while performing maintenance work.
  • If equipment and components are to be moved, always verify persons are aware and in a safe location prior to movement.
  • Consult and follow the manufacturer's recommended safe work procedures for the maintenance task.

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

On June 6, 2009, a 57-year old surface driller with 27 years of experience was fatally injured at a surface gold mine. The victim was drilling in a pit, exited the drill, and was walking in the drill area when he was struck by a flatbed truck as it backed up. The truck was in the area to collect drill cutting sample bags.

Best Practices
  • Before moving mobile equipment, look in the direction of travel, use all mirrors, cameras, and installed proximity detection devices to ensure no one is in the intended path.
  • Sound the horn to warn persons of movement and wait to give them time to get to a safe location.
  • Operate mobile equipment at reduced speeds in work areas.
  • Do not operate mobile equipment in reverse for extended distances when it is possible to travel forward.
  • Be aware of the location of mobile equipment in your work area before exiting your equipment.
  • Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  • Wear high visibility clothing when working around mobile equipment.
  • Train all miners to recognize work place hazards.

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

Funny Break Photo

Jun 15, 2009

Okay, like just about every other PowerPoint presenter, I don't know what we did as trainers before the internet, but since it's here we all use those funny photos you can find everywhere. I was conducting MSHA Refresher training on Friday and got a request for sharing this photo that I use to let us know it's time to take a break, or a stretch as I labeled the slide. It occured to me that this would be another great way to use the blog. So, if you're in one of my classes and had a favorite part of the class OTHER than what I was actually trying to get across, you'll probably find it here eventually. Of course, I'm not going to share them before I get some mileage out of them in class. Though most everyone enjoys these no matter how many times they see them.

Just click on the Category HUMOR and you'll be able to find all the funny stuff eventually. At this posting you'll only find two, but there's more to come.

by | Categories: Humor | 1 Comment

Mining Fatality Update

Jun 11, 2009

After posting the most recent fatality I had an AHA! moment. If I posted all the fatalities and tag them with some basic labels like type of mine, equipment, etc. I would end up with a database that is easily searchable for not only fatalities, but other important relative information. For example, click on loader in the tag section and it will show you all posts with loader fatalities along with other information posted about loaders. Neat, huh?

So I'm going to continue to post fatalities. In fact, I'm going to go back and add the previous fatalgrams as I get time here. I'll post new ones as soon as I can after the fatalgram is posted. Then I'll go back and add the link to the investigation when that is posted as well. Of course it will all be even better if you add your comments. So go ahead. Comment.

NIOSH has created an easy to use tree system to look up the classification code for occupational injury and illnesses. If you need that kind of thing, which you might if you're searching for information on MSHA's injury database it's a helpful tool.  I've added a link on our  Regulatory Information page at under NIOSH Resources. Click here to go there now.

On May 2, 2009, a 51-year old front-end loader operator with 8 weeks of experience was fatally injured at a surface clay operation. The victim parked a front-end loader on a loading ramp and was run over by the machine after he exited it.

Best Practices

  • Keep unauthorized persons out of the cabs of mobile equipment.
  • Never leave mobile equipment unattended unless the controls are placed in the park position and the parking brake is set.
  • Lower the bucket to the ground when parking mobile equipment.
  • Chock or turn the wheels when parked on a grade.

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

On May 1, 2009, a 59-year old dredge operator with 3 years of experience was fatally injured at a dredging operation. The victim was trying to manually guide the wire cable onto one of two positioning winches on the dredge when he became entangled in it.

Best Practices

  • Conduct a complete pre-operational inspection of equipment that includes checking winches and cables.
  • Install new winch cables to reel in the same direction as the old cable.
  • Inspect winches to confirm proper reeling of the cable.
  • Assign two persons to perform maintenance tasks on dredges.
  • Block equipment against hazardous motion before performing maintenance tasks.
  • Label valve bank levers to indicate direction of movement.
  • Do not wear loose clothing when working near moving machine parts.

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

On April 21, 2009, a 51-year old contract laborer with 3 years of experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel dredging operation. The victim was inside an excavation ditch while an excavator was maneuvering a concrete box into place. The chain used to attach the four leg sling from the box to the excavator broke. The box fell into the hole and struck the victim crushing him.

Best Practices

  • Identify hazards associated with the task to be performed, review those hazards with all personnel involved, and implement measures to ensure persons are properly protected.
  • Communicate lift plans to all persons working in the lift zone to ensure that no one is under a suspended load.
  • Stay clear of a suspended load.
  • Attach taglines to loads that may require steadying or guidance while suspended.
  • Use sling or chain assemblies (rigging) specifically intended for lifting and adequately rated for the loads being lifted.
  • Carefully inspect all rigging prior to each use.

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

On April 14, 2009, a 38 – year old contractor carpenter with 8 years of experience was fatally injured at a cement plant under construction. While dismantling a section of scaffolding, the victim lost his balance and fell when one end of the metal pan on which he was standing shifted unexpectedly. As he fell backward, the victim’s safety lanyard slipped off the end of the horizontal scaffold to which he was tied.

Best Practices

  • Train persons to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used and how to control or minimize those hazards.
  • Wear fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
  • Where possible anchor fall protection to permanent support structure.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s procedures for assembly and disassembly of scaffold systems.
  • Ensure that scaffolding is properly connected and braced to prevent side sway.
  • Prior to using scaffolding, inspect the structure to ensure that it has not been altered.

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