During one recent year — 2018 — there were 27 mining fatalities. Just over half of those deaths involved powered haulage accidents.
What does that include? Basically, any type of carts used in the mine and other mobile equipment like powered conveyors that move materials and/or workers from Point A to Point B. Under the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), it is a priority to prevent these types of accidents.
What can keep miners safer?
The MSHA has identified three components of avoiding powered haulage accidents. They are:
- Mobile equipment at surface mines
- Use of seat belts
- Conveyor belt safety
- Mining equipment inherently dangerous
The mobile equipment used at surface mines is typically not your regular-size truck or vehicle. These mining vehicles can be stories tall and weigh hundreds of tons. These behemoths are quite capable of rolling over a smaller passenger truck that was in an operator’s blind spot.
To combat these safety hazards, responsible mine owners have set up traffic controls and fitted the mining vehicles with collision-avoidance and warning systems to avert disaster. Mine owners and supervisors make sure to reduce operators’ distractions in the cab and to ensure that all operators are sufficiently trained on operating the mining vehicles and in safety procedures.
According to the safety engineers at MSHA, as many as four lives per year could be saved by equipping each mining vehicle with seat belts and making their use mandatory. Some mines have gone a step farther and made the vehicles immobile when safety belts are not in use.
Conveyor belts add further danger. Mining company owners can implement lock-out procedures to prevent energy surges when routine maintenance is being done on the conveyor belts. Other safety features include using crossunder and crossovers, blocking motion and installing guards to protect workers from sudden and unexpected movement.
Were you hurt in a mining accident?
Workers’ compensation claims involving mining accidents can be complicated. Make sure that your claim for compensation does not get unfairly denied by seeking assistance from a workers’ comp attorney who is familiar with mining accidents.