MSHA announces proposed rule to require mine operators to improve safe usage of mobile, powered-haulage equipment
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced a proposed rule to require mine operators employing six or more miners to develop a written safety program for mobile and powered haulage equipment (excluding belt conveyors) at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. This proposed rule is one of several actions MSHA has taken to reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries involving surface mobile equipment used at mines and to improve safety and health.
Under the proposed rule, mine operators would implement a written safety program including actions to identify hazards and risks to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment. Mine operators would have the flexibility to devise a safety program for their specific mining conditions and operations. In addition, MSHA would encourage its state grantees to provide training to address hazards and risks involving surface mobile equipment in small mining operations.
“At surface mines and at surface areas of underground mines, a wide range of mobile and powered haulage equipment is in use,” MSHA wrote. “Examples of such equipment are bulldozers, front-end loaders, skid steers, and haul trucks. While accidents at mines are declining, accidents involving mobile and powered haulage equipment are still a leading cause of fatalities in mining.
MSHA notes that of the 739 fatalities that occurred at U.S. mines between 2003 and 2018, 109 were caused by hazards related to working near or operating mobile and powered haulage equipment at mines with six or more miners.
“To reduce the number of injuries and fatalities involving mobile and powered haulage equipment, MSHA has launched several actions, including providing technical assistance, developing training materials, and gathering information from the public and mining stakeholders. MSHA is now proposing a rule to improve safety in the use of surface mobile equipment, defined as mobile and powered haulage equipment (except belt conveyors), at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines. This proposal is based on the information gathered from many stakeholders.”
Read the proposed rule. Comments about the rule must be submitted by Nov. 8, 2021.