During the fall, many intermittent mines are preparing for the winter season and performing annual shutdown or repair activities. During this time miners may be performing new or unfamiliar tasks, working with equipment they service only once a year, or working in a reduced-sized workforce.
This time of the year has historically seen a large number of powered haulage and machinery fatalities that occurred while disassembling portable plants, moving equipment into storage and breaking down equipment for major repairs, warns the Mine Safety and Health Administration
For example, a front end loader operator died at a sand and gravel operation when he was caught between a conveyor frame and the bucket of an excavator. He was attaching chains to the conveyor section preparing to move it.
An equipment operator preparing to move a portable plant’s conveyor head pulley section was struck and killed by the falling conveyor as he rigged it for lifting.
A crusher operator was killed when he was struck by a tire assembly on a conveyor belt. The bucket of a front end loader dropped suddenly while it was supporting the conveyor during disassembly.
Possible hazardous tasks
- Disassembling conveyors and transporting and storing sections
- Accessing pumping stations, especially floating pump decks
- Rigging, lifting and towing equipment
- Rebuilding crushers and screens
- Winterizing sand wash facilities
Possible hazardous conditions
- Unfamiliarity with tasks or equipment
- Working around water
- Working at height
- Working in cold weather, snow or ice
- Identify hazards through effective workplace exams
- Control hazards through detailed work plan
- Provide effective task training based on work plan
- Lock out and block equipment against hazardous motion
- Provide necessary personal protectrive clothing and equipment