MSHA Reports Fourth Fatality

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that on Feb. 22, a 26-year-old underground chute puller at Nyrstar’s Immel zinc mine in Knox County, Tenn., was fatally injured as a passenger of a rail-mounted locomotive when he was crushed between the deck of the locomotive and an overhead chute.

This is the fourth fatality reported in 2021, and the third classified as “Powered Haulage.”

MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:

  • Install controls such as rail stops at loading points, crossings, etc., where track equipment must stop. 
  • Install reflective signs or warning lights well in advance of low clearance areas to alert miners of the upcoming hazard.
  • Develop safe working procedures to avoid low clearance and pinch point areas. Monitor workers to ensure these procedures are followed.
  • Always look in the direction the equipment is moving in, and keep all body parts within the operator’s compartment while a vehicle is moving.  
  • Conduct proper travelway examinations to identify and mitigate the hazards presented by low clearances. 
  • Train all workers to recognize potential hazards and understand safe job procedures and tasks to eliminate hazards before beginning work.

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