MSHA: Avoid working alone and in restricted areas

By |  February 3, 2017

msha-logoThe Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) shared some best safety practices following the deaths of two miners in a 24-hour span.

According to MSHA, the victims in both incidents were working alone and in restricted areas where hazardous conditions existed.

In the first incident, a miner was found in an underground limestone mine after failing to exit the mine at the end of his shift. The miner was found under material that had fallen on him from a rib in an area of the mine that had been barricaded to prevent entry due to bad roof and rib conditions.

The second incident, which occurred the next day in a coal mine, involved a miner who was discovered entangled at a conveyor belt drive, also after failing to exit the mine at the end of his shift.

According to MSHA, miners should never enter hazardous areas that have been “dangered-off” or otherwise identified to prohibit entry. Miners should be developed and trained on a method that clearly alerts them not to enter hazardous areas, the agency adds.

MSHA also advises miners not to work alone, if possible. If working alone, miners should communicate intended movements to a responsible person. Also, identify known and potential hazards before beginning any task, and never perform work on a moving conveyor belt. Ensure equipment guards are adequate and secure to prevent miners from contacting moving machine parts, the agency says.

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Kevin Yanik

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

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