2On January 11, 2015, a 53-year old contract shaft miner with 35 years of experience was killed at an underground gold mine.  The victim was positioned on a work platform on top of a skip traveling up the ventilation shaft.  He struck a steel cross member on a beam in the shaft.

Best Practices

  • Train all persons in hazard recognition, awareness of their surroundings, and safe positioning when riding skips.
  • To prevent hazard exposure, require safe positioning for personnel who ride skips.
  • Monitor all persons for safe positioning when riding skips.
  • Place warning signs on skip platforms to remind persons to keep body parts inside the handrails.

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

ftl2014m13On June 2, 2014, a 36-year-old shaft repairman with 18 years of experience was killed at an underground silver mine. Two miners were working in a shaft standing on a work platform attached to a skip. The skip was hoisted and the victim was crushed between the skip and the shaft timber.

Best Practices

  • Develop and implement a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the safe operation of hoists. Post these procedures near the hoist control panels in a conspicuous location and ensure persons are trained in these procedures.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.
  • Identify safe anchor points for fall protection and train all persons to understand the hazards related to fall protection and hoisting operations.
  • Communicate work activities prior to beginning a task and maintain communications throughout the shift.
  • Install audible and visual alarms which have adequate delay time to ensure persons are clear of impending hoist movement.
  • Ensure all miners are accounted for before movement of the hoist.
  • Conduct thorough examinations of all hoisting equipment and safety mechanisms on a daily basis. Ensure that persons conducting these examinations are trained adequately. Correct any deficiencies identified immediately.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

ftl2013c03On Thursday, February 7, 2013, at approximately 9:20 p.m., a 43-year-old utility man was killed when he was pinned underneath the scoop he was operating at the bottom of a service shaft. The victim and two other miners were unloading trash from a scoop bucket insert with the scoop bucket positioned on the hoist platform. The hoist unexpectedly started moving up the shaft. This raised the front end of the scoop, which slipped away from the hoist deck and fell suddenly. The victim was found underneath the operator’s deck of the scoop.

Best Practices

  • Ensure that an adequate delay time is provided between the activation of visual and/or audible alarms and the movement of the hoist, so that workers can react and move clear of dangerous areas.
  • Conduct thorough examinations of all hoisting equipment and safety mechanisms on a daily basis. Ensure that persons conducting these examinations are trained adequately and any deficiencies identified are corrected immediately.
  • Discuss work procedures and identify all hazards associated with the work to be performed along with the methods to properly protect persons.
  • Communicate work activities prior to beginning the work and maintain communications during the work activity.
  • Develop and implement a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the safe operation of service hoists and man hoists, train all of the miners involved in hoisting operations, and post these procedures near the hoist control panels in a conspicuous location.
  • Provide redundant safety mechanisms that provide a more fail proof check of the system before the hoist can be operated.
  • When possible, secure the cage mechanically to prevent cage motion due to suspension rope stretch during loading or other unintended motion.
  • Design Electrical safety circuits so that an open circuit does not represent a safe condition and the functioning of the safety circuit should not be solely dependent on a single programmable electronic system.
  • Ensure that the hoist is inoperable during loading and unloading operations.

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