Rock Products

OCT 2018

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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58 • ROCK products • October 2018 FOCUS ON HEALTH & SAFETY Mine safety in the United States has improved tremendously in the last few decades, thanks to the combined efforts of miners, mine operators, equipment manufacturers, and regulatory and enforcement agencies such as ours – the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administra- tion (MSHA). The occupation of mining is no longer among our nation's most dangerous. While mines continue to employ hundreds of thousands of workers, we now count annual mining fatal- ities in the low double digits rather than in the hundreds. Still, at MSHA, we are determined to do better. It is our mis- sion to save miners' lives and we take that mandate very seriously. Every mining fatality matters to us as if it were a loss in the family. We thoroughly investigate each one, seek- ing information that can be used to prevent similar incidents in the future. Data from those investigations also help direct our outreach and enforcement efforts. Recently we've identified the classification of powered haul- age – including large surface equipment and belt conveyors – as responsible for an inordinate number of fatal accidents. Powered haulage accounted for half of the 28 fatalities recorded in 2017 and more than half of the 14 recorded so far this year. Each one of those accidents was preventable. In some cases, a life was lost because of a moment of distraction, or a shortcut taken doing a routine task. How can we prevent these all-too-human lapses from tragically taking a life? MSHA is focused on finding effective, feasible answers to that question through tech- nology and other means, and we are seeking ideas from all stakeholders – miners, mine operators and equipment manufacturers. To encourage input from all knowledgeable parties, MSHA has issued a formal Request for Information . Comments will be accepted until Dec. 24, 2018, at . Our questions include: • Can proximity detection devices be used to prevent large mobile equipment such as haul trucks and front end load- ers from running over occupied vehicles? •  How can we ensure seatbelt usage among equipment operators? •  Can technology help ensure that workers performing work around belt conveyors are protected from injury and death? As background, our investigations have noted that blind areas have contributed to mobile equipment operators colliding with other equipment and striking miners. Engineering controls, such as collision warning systems and collision avoidance systems, could provide warnings when other vehi- cles, miners or structures pose a potential collision hazard, or activate machine controls, such as automatic braking, to avoid collisions. Since 2007, there have been 20 fatal accidents in surface coal and metal and nonmetal mines involving bulldozer operators and haul truck drivers who traveled over the edge of the highwall or dump point. Systems that integrate technologies such as GPS, radar and radio fre- quency identification tagging could help equipment opera- tors better identify the edges of highwalls or dump points. Ground and aerial markers also could help equipment operators identify their loca- tions relative to the edges of highwalls or dump points when pushing or dumping material. As Mine Safety Improves, MSHA Targets Remaining Causes of Fatalities By David G. Zatezalo

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