MSHA issues electricity safety alert following recent deaths

The Mine safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued an electricity safety alert following three deaths in the mining industry since 7 August 2019.

  • An electrician contacted an energized component of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit while adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the panel that supplied power to the plant feed belt motors.
  • A contract electrician contacted an energized 120 VAC conductor while working inside a fire suppression system’s electrical panel.
  • An electrician contacted an exposed energized connector while troubleshooting a 995 VAC flooded bed scrubber motor circuit on-board a continuous mining machine.

Best Practices: 

  • Lockout/Tagoutcircuits before working on electrical equipment.
  • Don’t rush. Never work alone. Talk to coworkers and confirm your plan is safe.
  • Identify and control all hazardous energy sourcesbefore conducting any task and follow safe work procedures.
    • Open the circuit breaker or load break switch to de-energize the incoming power cables or conductors
    • Open the visual disconnectto confirm incoming power is off
    • Lockout/Tagout the visual disconnect
    • Ground the de-energized conductors
  • Train miners on equipment they may use.
  • Electricians must know how to de-energize and disconnectelectrical systems and equipment.
  • Always troubleshoot without power first.
  • If you musttroubleshoot an energized circuit, use properly rated personal protective equipment to prevent hazards. For example, use electrically rated gloves, insulated blankets or mats, and polycarbonate barriers to prevent accidental contact with energized components.

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