The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued the following Serious Accident Alert:
On Jan. 18, 2018, a miner was operating an excavator equipped with a rock breaker attachment to break up large boulders. A rock penetrated the right side window of the cab and struck the excavator operator in the head.
A nearby front-end loader operator noticed that the excavator operator was slumped over the controls and called for help. The victim was unresponsive for approximately 20 minutes before medical help arrived. The victim was transported and diagnosed with a severe concussion.
MSHA recommends the following Best Practices to avoid accidents like these:
- Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and the methods to properly protect persons. Task train all persons in safe work procedures.
- When breaking oversized material, it is always better to break the ends or at a crack.
- To avoid injury from flying chips of stone, be sure others stay well away from the breaker when it is operating.
- Ensure that the machine is equipped with the necessary glass protection from flying material.
This alert can be posted on bulletin boards, used in safety talks or given to miners and contractors as a hand out.