MSHA issues safety alert for drill operators

By |  August 12, 2016

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) released a drill entanglement safety alert to the mining community to refocus the industry on safe drilling practices.

“Failing to follow safe drilling practices has tragic consequences as we’ve sadly seen,” says Joe Main, MSHA’s assistant secretary of labor. “Paying attention to safe job procedures, staying clear of rotating drill augers, complying with drilling safety standards and following best practices will reduce the risk of death or injury.”

According to MSHA, at least seven workers have died in metal and nonmetal mining accidents that involve drills since 2002. MSHA urges drillers to consider the following tips before starting drill operations:

  • Examine the drill and surrounding work areas.
  • Eliminate all tripping hazards.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting or bulky clothing when working around drilling machinery.
  • Avoid using objects that could entangle in moving or rotating parts.
  • Stay clear of augers and drill stems in motion.
  • Never manually thread the drill steel while the drill head rotates.
  • Drill from a position with good footing and access to the controls.
  • Assure machine controls and safety devices such as emergency shutdowns operate effectively.
  • Never nullify or bypass machine control safety equipment.
  • Place emergency shutdown devices, such as panic bars, slap bars, rope switches or two-handed controls, in easily accessible locations.

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