MSHA Offers Compliance Assistance Products on Machine Guarding

MSHA has released three new compliance assistance products for the violation most frequently cited by its inspectors: machine guarding.

The resources -- an updated handbook and two new DVDs -- are designed to help the U.S. mining industry reduce hazards caused by improperly guarded moving machine parts on equipment in the mining workplace, a hazard that contributes to more than 100 industry injuries each year, according to the agency.

"Proper guarding of mining equipment is one of the most important and obvious safety hazards to be addressed in the mining workplace," said David Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "These new products update MSHA's best suggestions and advice for properly guarding machinery. We hope they will help reduce and eliminate the injuries currently occurring due to improperly guarded equipment."

Equipment guards protect working miners from injury and death that can be caused by moving machinery parts. MSHA's analysis of reported guarding-related injuries shows that 38 percent of these injuries occur while equipment is running and 50 percent occur during maintenance. At least 12 percent are attributed to hazards posed by handling the guard itself.

The resources are:

  • "MSHA's Guide to Equipment Guarding," an updated, 33-page handbook that was produced to help mine operators with properly designing, installing and maintaining equipment guards. The publication gives examples of commonly used equipment guards and includes examples of improper guards as well as considerations and recommendations on usage.
  • "Equipment Guarding," a two-DVD set produced in cooperation with more than three dozen mining operations and scores of mining industry associations and equipment manufacturers. The DVDs focus on reducing risk by improving equipment guarding. They discuss protection levels provided by various types of guards, as well as design and construction considerations of guards for many types of equipment.
  • "Junkyard Guards," a fast-paced and informative DVD that depicts two teams of miners who solve equipment guarding problems by creatively using parts and materials commonly found on mine sites or recycled after use on mining equipment. The video was produced through a cooperative effort with two MSHA alliance partners: the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association and the Industrial Minerals Association-North America.

The new products are available from MSHA's National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., at (304) 256-3257.

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