Despite a significant decline in mining-related fatalities, some basic safety-related problems persist with powered haulage

By Steve Fiscor, Editor

The U.S. has seen mining-related fatality rates decline to single digits. One would think the fatalities that do occur are freak accidents, but oftentimes, they are not. In many cases, had the miners simply followed procedure or used common sense, they would still be with us today. Why did they make those choices? How can equipment operators be convinced to fasten their seat belts? Why did they splice that conveyor without locking out the drive motors? These questions and many more haunt today’s safety professionals.

Recently, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) hosted a quarterly conference call for stakeholders regarding powered haulage. The agency has a new leader, David Z. Zatezalo, who hails from the mining side of the business, and during the call, he made it clear that he and the agency are looking at multiple ways to improve safety at the mine sites.
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