The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is reporting that on Sept. 5, 2017, a 20-year-old plant operator with 23 weeks of experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel mine. The victim was performing maintenance on a belt conveyor when he became entangled in the tail pulley.
This is the eighth fatality reported in calendar year 2017 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2016, there were 11 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the third Powered Haulage fatality in 2017. There were two Powered Haulage fatalities in the same period in 2016.
MSHA recommends the following best practices to accidents such as this one:
- Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
- Before beginning any work, ensure that persons assigned to work on belt conveyors are task trained and understand the hazards associated with the work to be performed.
- Do not perform work on a belt conveyor until the power is off, locked and tagged, and machinery components are blocked against motion.
- Never clean pulleys or idlers manually while belt conveyors are operating.
- Identify hazards around belt conveyor systems, design guarding, and securely install the guarding to ensure miners do not contact moving machine parts.