Final rule on mobile equipment emerges from MSHA

By |  December 20, 2023

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The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) published a new rule related to mobile equipment, requiring mine operators to develop and implement a written safety program for mobile equipment at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines.

The mobile equipment rule excludes belt conveyors, but programs must include input from miners and their representatives and identify hazards and risks.

“Given the number of serious and fatal machinery and powered haulage accidents that have occurred in recent years, the Mine Safety & Health Administration has worked hard to issue this final rule to enhance safety protections for miners working with and around surface mobile equipment,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at MSHA. “As MSHA works with the entire mining community to implement the new rule, we strongly encourage everyone to prioritize training and to identify and eliminate machinery and powered haulage hazards that can put miners’ lives and livelihoods at risk.”

As MSHA describes, powered haulage equipment and machinery have been the leading causes of serious and fatal mine accidents in recent years. MSHA says the final mobile equipment rule aligns with its overall effort to improve safety in equipment use.

So far in 2023, 40 mining industry workers have suffered fatal injuries – including 16 that MSHA classified as machinery accidents and 10 that were classified as powered haulage accidents.

Earlier this year, Williamson sent an open letter to the mining community noting MSHA will continue to use the tools in its arsenal to combat the upward trend in fatalities. The letter detailed an inaugural “Stand Down to Save Lives” event to encourage the nation’s mining community to take steps to prevent injuries and illnesses.

According to MSHA, district managers will discuss compliance assistance for the mining industry at stakeholder meetings beginning in January.

Featured photo: P&Q Staff

Related: Where MSHA and the industry are right now

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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