The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that 28 miners have died after falling from heights over the last 10 years. Deaths from falls have increased from 8% to 19% of mining fatalities in the last two years. This is due to:
- Working without fall protection on top of trucks, in aerial lift baskets and while accessing and egressing other mobile equipment.
- Performing maintenance on crushers, screens, conveyors and other milling equipment.
MSHA issued 92 imminent danger orders for people working at heights without fall protection between January 2019 and June 2020. The most common violations were truck drivers climbing atop their vehicles, and maintenance and quarry personnel climbing to or working without fall protection in high places. Supervisors have been ordered down from dangerous locations.
MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:
- Reduce hazards. Design work areas and develop job tasks to minimize fall hazards.
- Have a program. Establish an effective fall prevention and protection program. Provide task and site-specific hazard training that prohibits working at unprotected locations.
- Provide a fall protection harness and lanyard to each miner who may work at an elevated height or a location unprotected by handrails. Ensure their use.
- Provide identifiable, secure anchor points to attach lanyards.
- Proactively enforce fall protection equipment usage and safe work-at-height policies and procedures with supervisors, miners, contractors, and truck drivers.
- Provide mobile or stationary platforms or scaffolding at locations and on work projects where there is a risk of falling.
- Provide safe truck tarping and bulk truck hatch access facilities.