Worker dies clearing obstruction in a sand and gravel bin

A worker has died after being engulfed by material from a dredged sand and gravel bin, says the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The MSHA says the worker entered the bin through a lower access hatch to clear an obstruction with a bar before the material inside fell on him.

This is the seventh fatality reported in 2020, and the second classified as a “handling material” death, the administration adds.

MSHA has issued some best practice reminder guidelines as a result:

Lock-out, tag-out. Never enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.

Train staff to recognize and safely remove all potential hazards before beginning work and when clearing blocked hoppers.

Equip bins with mechanical devices such as vibrating shakers or air cannons to loosen blockages.

If this is not possible, provide other effective means of handling material so that workers are not exposed to entrapment hazards from falling or sliding material.

Follow manufacturer recommendations for clearing out blockages.

Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing bins.

Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of the material and prevent clogging.

Additional Information: https://www.msha.gov/data-reports/fatality-reports/2020/may-2-2020-fatality/fatality-alert

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