Safety Mindfulness

As the weather warms up, safety needs to be first and foremost on the minds of aggregates producers. There are a million things we would probably rather be thinking about or doing, but it is critically important to focus the mind on the task at hand.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently issued three new Metal/Nonmetal Serious Accident Alerts.

  • A miner had just finished welding on the plant’s crusher and decided to jump from the next to the last step of a fixed ladder to reach the ground. When the victim hit the ground, he fell backwards and was impaled by a pry bar that was left standing upright on the ground. The victim suffered severe injuries as a result of this accident.
  • A miner entered a feed hopper to remove bolts on the skirt board. When he heard a bulldozer that typically pushes material into the hopper approaching, the miner tried to escape through the opening at the bottom of the hopper. The bulldozer pushed material into the hopper, unaware that the miner was inside, burying him up to his chest. It took emergency services approximately two hours to extricate the miner.
  • A miner was operating a portable crusher when a large rock fell striking him on the left side of his head. The miner was wearing a hard hat at the time. The miner was taken to the hospital and released later that day. 

Thankfully, none of these injuries resulted in a fatality. There have been three thus far this year, but as every safety professional in the industry always says, even one is too many.

MSHA has also issued a “working alone” initiative (see Law column on page 50 for an interesting perspective on that.) In the first three months of 2017, five miners died in accidents that occurred when they were working alone on mine property.

I doubt the veracity of working alone as a large enough reason to warrant special consideration. I go back to my original premise. Focus. Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. I believe therein lies the foundation of accident prevention.

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