During a recent quarterly stakeholder call, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced a new “Fire Suppression Safety Initiative” (FSS) to ensure that fire suppression systems on mobile equipment are in working order and capable of extinguishing equipment fires. The initiative appears to involve educating operators about FSS, including proper inspections and maintenance, as well as stepping up related enforcement, according to Avi Meyerstein of Husch Blackwell’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation team.
MSHA believes that a number of recent incidents involving mobile equipment fires highlight problems with FSS not working properly. MSHA is also concerned about equipment operators having a clear path of escape from burning equipment. MSHA asserted that “[i]t is the responsibility of mine operators to ensure that adequate and effective fire protection equipment, which includes fire suppression systems, is provided. Also, it’s the responsibility of mine operators and miners to ensure that fire hazards on surface vehicles are adequately eliminated and/or mitigated.”
MSHA has posted information on the initiative, including a detailed presentation on inspection of fire suppression systems and an inspection checklist that may be used by MSHA inspectors for reviewing the systems and operator compliance. Go to www.msha.gov.