The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that on June 7, a miner at a construction sand and gravel operation in Crosby, Texas, entered the top of a primary feed hopper to break up and remove a large rock. Raw material that remained on the sides of the hopper sloughed off and engulfed the miner. This is the 15th fatality reported in 2021, and the second classified as “Handling Material.” By this date last year there were 12 fatalities. By this date in 2019, there were 10 fatalities.
MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:
- Equip hoppers with mechanical devices, grates/grizzlies or other effective means of handling material so miners are not required to enter or work where they are exposed to entrapment by caving or sliding material.
- Establish and assure policies and procedures are followed to safely remove blockages in bins and hoppers. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
- Provide a safe means of access that allows miners to safely conduct tasks such as removing large rocks and other material.
- Wear an appropriate safety harness, lanyard and lifeline which are securely anchored and constantly monitored and adjusted by another person, as needed, prior to entering bins or hoppers.
- Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition especially when removing blockages in bins or hoppers.