The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has revealed that 28 aggregates and mining workers have died after falling from heights during the last 10 years.
The MSHA says deaths from falls have increased from 8% to 19% of aggregates and mining fatalities in the last two years.
Common causes include working without fall protection on top of trucks, falling from aerial lift baskets and problems when accessing and egressing other mobile equipment.
Working on the maintenance of crushers, screens, conveyors and other milling equipment is also a regular cause of fatal accidents.
The administration issued 92 imminent danger orders for people working at heights without fall protection between January 2019 and June 2020.
The most common violations, says MHSA, are truck drivers climbing atop their vehicles … as well as maintenance staff climbing to, or working without fall protection from, high places.
Supervisors have been ordered down from dangerous locations.
Best practice advice from MHSA is:
- Reduce hazards. Design work areas and develop job tasks to minimize fall hazards.
- Have a program. Establish an effective fall prevention and protection program. Provide task and site-specific hazard training that prohibits working at unprotected locations.
- Provide a fall protection harness and lanyard to each member of staff who may work at an elevated height or a location unprotected by handrails. Ensure their use.
- Provide identifiable, secure anchor points to attach lanyards.
- Proactively enforce fall protection equipment usage and safe work-at-height policies and procedures with supervisors, miners, contractors, and truck drivers.
- Provide mobile or stationary platforms or scaffolding at locations and on work projects where there is a risk of falling.
- Provide safe truck tarping and bulk truck hatch access facilities.