A belt foreman who was splicing an underground conveyor when it inadvertently kicked on is the fourth mining fatality of the year.
On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, the 29-year-old worker, who had eight years of experience, was fatally injured when he became entangled with belt splicing tools as the conveyor belt moved.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) subsequently opened an investigation and provided best practices to prevent future incidents.
Miners should perform the following steps when working on conveyor belts and other machines:
- Open the circuit breaker that supplies electrical power to the conveyor belt drive.
- Open the visual disconnect for the cable that supplies electrical power to the conveyor belt drive.
- Lock out and tag out the visual disconnect yourself and never rely on someone to do this for you.
- Release the tension in the conveyor belt take-up/storage unit.
- Block the conveyor belt against motion.
- Keep the key to the lock at all times while repairs and/or maintenance are performed.
- Ensure that you are the only person who removes the lock after repairs and/or maintenance are completed.
- Ensure that no miner is in harm’s way before starting the conveyor belt(s).
- Provide a visible and/or audible system, with a start-up delay, to warn persons that the conveyor belt will begin moving.
- Establish policies and procedures for performing specific tasks on conveyor belts and ensure all miners are trained.
The accident marks the second coal mining fatality classified as powered haulage in 2018, according to MSHA.