Keeping up to date with new requirements and safety procedures is an essential part of keeping mines safe. In fact, MSHA training programmes include retraining on at least an annual basis to ensure that regulations are being followed and that equipment is being used correctly. Last year saw the highest rate of fatalities as a result of powered haulage equipment since 2006. MSHA stepped in to assess why this was happening and put new regulations in place to keep mine workers safe. On this page, you will find regular updates on news about powered haulage equipment requirements.
What are the new MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage?
In September last year, MSHA proposed a safety program rule as part of several steps to reduce injuries involving surface mobile equipment.
The rule would improve the safe usage of mobile and powered-haulage equipment at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines by requiring mine operators that employ six or more miners to design a written safety program. Programs would include actions to identify hazards, with MSHA also encouraging the provision of training that covers risk identification and mitigation.
The original deadline for comments was November 8, 2021.
Comments were supportive, with opinions differing on whether the weight of safety programs should focus on technologies (such as proximity detectors) or behavioral and cultural changes.
Most commenters noted that the application of engineering controls or technologies such as collision avoidance systems needs further review by MSHA and the National Institute for Occupational before any regulatory changes are made. This includes acknowledging that the issues MSHA raised vary at different mines and with different types of equipment, so it is critical to understand how specific hazards at a mine would be addressed through new technologies. Additionally, commenters emphasise the importance of communicating with stakeholders and miners.
A mining coalition commented that comprehensive safety programs are essential, with or with new technology, because human factors are a major contributor to accidents. It also noted that programs perform better when mine operators develop and implement their own safety programs.
MSHA reopened the rulemaking record for public comments and held a virtual public hearing on the proposed rule on Jan 11, 2022. The comment period was extended until February 11.
When do the MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage come into force?
Mine operators will need to meet the requirements of the proposed rule six months after the effective date of the final rule. Comments are still being taken before a final rule can be announced.
Who is affected by the MSHA safety regulations on power haulage?
All US mines that employ six or more miners will be required to submit a written safety program for surface mobile equipment that includes four types of actions that operators would take to reduce accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
What should you do to ensure you are compliant with the new MSHA safety regulations on powered haulage?
Powered haulage safety guidance provided by MSHA outlines best practices for improving visibility, communication, traffic management, seat belt use, dumping practices, equipment guards, working around belt conveyors and crossover safety.
According to Carroll Technologies president, Allen Haywood: “Designing a safety program could include things such as designated areas, as well as warnings of equipment and personnel being active, possibly with the use signage. There are different ways that each operation can come up with a plan to help the safety aspect of collisions with personnel or equipment.”
Through Carroll Technologies, customers can be supplied with a wide range of MSHA-certified machinery and safety solutions such as Northern Light Technologies (NLT) cap lights, MSA multigas detection, MPS hard hats, and Miner and Equipment Tracking Systems (METS) from Matrix Design Group.
Carroll Technologies Group provides a full suite of technical mining training courses, including comprehensive training courses for all of the major products in its portfolio. Staff are introduced to safe work practices and precautionary techniques with materials and guidance provided by MSHA itself.
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