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MSHA, AEM issue cellphone safety alert

By |  June 23, 2016

Photo courtesy of AEM.

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) and Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) issued a mine safety alert regarding cellphones.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, cellphones are involved in 6,000 auto fatalities each year. Using a cellphone while operating mobile equipment introduces the hazard of distracting the equipment operator and increases the chances of being involved in an accident, MSHA and AEM add. With that in mind, the two organizations compiled the following facts about cellphone usage in the aggregates industry:

  • The risks of operating mobile equipment while intoxicated are widely known, but using a cellphone can be up to six times worse.
  • In a reaction test, a driver who was using a cellphone took over twice as long to react to a red light than when the driver was legally impaired by alcohol.
  • Writing or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
  • Currently, 46 states have laws that ban texting while operating a vehicle.

“Through our alliance with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, MSHA is working to foster safer mining workplaces by, among other things, providing industry with vital information emphasizing the safe use and operation of mobile and powered haulage equipment,” says Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. “Powered haulage is the leading category of fatalities in metal and nonmetal mining. Over the past five years, there have been 29 fatalities in powered haulage. Distractions caused by cell phone use greatly increase the risk. No call or text message is worth taking that chance.”

The alert was developed as a part of the MSHA Alliance Program. The MSHA Alliance Program promotes mining safety and health through voluntary partnerships, which provide training, education, outreach, technical assistance and a national conversation on mine safety and health.

Read the full alert here.

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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