The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that on Oct. 1, a 25-year-old miner at Ovyn #1 Pit, Taylor County, Wis., was fatally injured when he entered a surge bin used as a feed hopper and was engulfed by material.
This is the 28th fatality reported in 2021, and the third classified as “Handling Material.”
MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:
- Design surge bins and feed hoppers to prevent blockages. Equip bins and hoppers with mechanical devices or other effective means of handling material, so miners are not required to enter or work inside bins and hoppers.
- Provide a safe means of access that allows miners to conduct tasks, such as removing large rocks and other material, safely.
- Ensure handrails and gates are substantially constructed, properly secured, and free of defects.
- Don’t stand on material stored in bins. Material stored in a bin can bridge over the hopper outlet, creating a hidden void beneath the material’s surface.
- Establish policies and procedures to remove blockages in bins and hoppers safely. Train and ensure miners follow these policies and procedures.
- Wear an appropriate safety harness, lanyard, and lifeline, and make sure these are maintained, in good condition, and securely anchored. Assign another miner to constantly monitor and adjust the lifeline, as needed.