| MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Chutes and Bins: Access Without Spillage
| Recently, a miner was seriously injured when he fell approximately 40 feet down a vertical fixed ladder on the side of a 50-foot rock chute. The accident occurred when the miner opened a 2-foot by 2-foot access door on the side of the chute to check on hung-up material. Rock unexpectedly flowed out the opening striking the victim and causing him to fall down the ladder. Other factors contributed to this accident, but if rock had not flowed out of the door, the accident would not have occurred.
Some simple modifications to these access doors would prevent this type of accident. Installing a piece of metal grating or mesh across the door opening would allow visibility and access into the chute, while preventing any significant flow of material out of the access door.
A second remedy would be to place an opening limiter on the door. A chain, for example, could be positioned to prevent the door from completely opening in the event material inside the chute wanted to flow out the door. Once the door is partially opened, then the chain limiter could be removed for complete access through the door into the chute.
Another remedy would be to add viewing ports along the side of the chute. This would eliminate the need to open the access doors to locate the hang-up.
If you have similar conditions at a bin or chute at your mine, these types of remedies can prevent similar accidents.