Mining fatalities, serious incidents and injuries are occurring across commodities and across the country. Stand Down to Save Lives is an opportunity to take a moment to ensure mine operators are taking every opportunity to ensure the safety of their employees.
These best practices should be implemented and institutionalized to enhance the safety and health culture at your mine or mines. This can be done by having a toolbox talk or conducting workplace and equipment examinations. It can be as simple as a 15-minute discussion and include hours of additional training over a few days. In short, Take Time, Save Lives.
WHY STAND DOWN?
Many incidents can be prevented with just a few minutes – or seconds – of precaution. Undertrained workers, lack of safe procedures and inadequate safety checks are the cause of many accidents. Mine owners and operators are responsible for proper training, adequate personal protective equipment and safe operation of equipment and machinery. Safe work procedures should reinforce training and safety programs.
As of May 9, 2023, MSHA’s review of the 18 fatalities in CY 2023 preliminarily identified the following root causes and facts:
- Do you perform maintenance on equipment, operate mobile equipment, or work at heights?
Importance of Safe Procedures: 16 of the 18 fatalities could have been prevented if the mine operator established and required miners to follow safe procedures for the following:
- Performing maintenance on jaw crushers, shaker screens, water pipes, and tires.
- Blocking against motion before performing maintenance or repairs.
- Operating equipment around overhead high-voltage power lines.
- Operating mobile equipment in a safe manner to maintain control.
- Following roof control plans and adequately supporting the ground.
- Maintaining and providing safe access to roadways.
- Wearing fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
- Were effective examinations conducted?
Examinations: In 12 of the 18 fatalities, the following examinations either were not conducted or were inadequate:
- Workplace examinations.
- Examinations of ground and/or roof conditions.
- Pre-operational inspections of equipment.
- Weekly examinations of electrical equipment.
- Do you have the training you need to confidently complete the task safely?
Experience and Training: 10 of the 18 victims had one year or less of experience at the mine, and the same number had two years or less of experience at the activity. 8 of the 18 fatalities could have been prevented if miners had received the following training:
- Site-specific hazard awareness training.
- Task training.
OWNERS/OPERATORS: How can you improve safety and health programs, equipment, and hazard reporting to make them more effective?
SUPERVISORS: How can you improve training and examinations? Have you addressed any concerns raised prior to your shift?
MINERS: Do you have properly fitting protective equipment and are you fully trained?
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