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Mine Safety Agency Warns of Equipment and Machinery Dangers

By Tressi L. Cordaro
  • October 3, 2016

In the wake of three deaths over the past year involving mine equipment and machinery, the Mine Health and Safety Administration has issued a safety alert to prevent mining accidents: “Blocking Against Motion.”

MSHA said a miner died when he was between the cutter boom and the pan of a continuous mining machine when the cutter head collapsed. Another miner died after he became entangled in a moving conveyor belt while changing out a hold up roller. The third miner was killed when the hydraulic pressure of a diesel front end loader released, pinning the miner between the bottom of the machine and the machine floor.

Employers and employees should consider the following best practices from MSHA:

  • Identify hydraulic leaks and mechanical damage by conducting examinations from safe locations, verifying the release of all stored energy before starting repairs, and making certain repairs comply with manufacturer recommendations.
  • Never work under an unsupported load and never depend on hydraulics to support a load.
  • Never conduct work under machinery or equipment that has been raised until the machinery or equipment has been securely blocked in position.
  • Use a lifting device compatible with the load being lifted and make certain blocking material is “competent, substantial and adequate” to support and stabilize the load. Always use manufacturers’ safety devices or features for securing components against motion and secure assemblies that rotate to prevent movement.
  • Never do work on a moving conveyor belt. Always lock and tag out belts before conducting maintenance or repairs.
  • Never perform repairs or maintenance on machinery until the power is off and the machinery is blocked against motion, except when machinery motion is necessary to make adjustments.
  • Finally, conduct a Risk Assessment to evaluate pivot points and ask, “What can happen?”

Please contact Jackson Lewis for assistance complying with safety regulations.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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