The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported the 13th fatality for calendar year 2017 in metal and nonmetal mining.
On Dec. 30, 2017, an employee in a pickup truck approached the quarry loadout area to get the front-end loader operator for lunch. The front-end loader operator backed into the pickup, pushing it sideways and crushing the driver’s side of the pickup cab, trapping the victim inside the truck. The pickup truck caught fire and efforts by the front-end loader operator and a nearby contractor to put the fire out using fire extinguishers were not successful.
In 2016, there were 17 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This was the sixth Powered Haulage fatality in 2017. There were four Powered Haulage fatalities in the same period in 2016.
MSHA recommends the following best practices:
- When approaching large mobile equipment, do not proceed until you communicate and verify with the equipment operator your planned movement and location. Provide radio communication systems between vehicles and large mobile equipment.
- Ensure all persons are trained to recognize workplace hazards – specifically, the limited visibility and blind areas inherent to operation of large equipment and the hazard of mobile equipment traveling near them.
- Ensure, by signal or other means, that all persons are clear before moving equipment.
- Minimize situations where smaller vehicles need to approach large front end loaders.
- Do not drive or park smaller vehicles in mobile equipment’s potential path of movement.
- Equip smaller vehicles with flags or strobe lights positioned high enough to be seen from the cabs of haulage trucks.
- Install and maintain proximity detection or collision avoidance/warning systems and cameras.