Skip to content

MSHA News Release No. 95-003
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: (703) 235-1452

January 9, 1995

BAD BRAKES FAR FROM RARE ON SURFACE MINE EQUIPMENT, AGENCY FINDS

Federal mine inspectors taking a close look at trucks and other mobile surface equipment found more than 500 serious violations in a special series of mine visits last month, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Davitt McAteer announced.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently issued an alert to mine operators concerning the large number of surface accidents involving haulage trucks, front-end loaders, scrapers, pickups and other mobile equipment used on the surface. Following the alert, MSHA inspectors made special visits last month to check haulage equipment at a sample of 362 mines throughout the nation.

"In last month's mine visits, our inspectors detected hundreds of serious safety problems related to trucks, front-end loaders and similar surface equipment," McAteer said. "We have required these problems to be corrected promptly. Hopefully, some accidents were averted.

"But to prevent deaths and serious injuries over the long run, all of us need to work together on this problem. Mine operators, contract truck drivers and other mobile equipment operators are the ones who have to make sure that things are done safely every day, whether or not an inspector is present," McAteer said.

During the special mine visits, the most frequently detected safety problems were braking system defects, found on 119 trucks and other types of mobile mine equipment used on the surface. Inoperative or missing backup alarms, steering defects, tire defects, oil or fuel leaks and multiple equipment defects also accounted for a large number of serious violations.

Safety defects, including bad brakes, were the most frequent common factor in 92 surface haulage deaths from 1989 through 1993, MSHA noted in a special hazard alert bulletin recently issued to the mining industry.

"If the mining community can improve maintenance practices on trucks, especially brake maintenance, that in itself should go a long way to reducing needless deaths and injuries," McAteer said. "Better maintenance of roadways and berms, improved training and pre-shift safety checks also are needed in some cases."

MSHA recently announced a series of seminars on haulage safety, including brake inspection and maintenance, to be held in mining areas throughout the country. For information on these seminars, mining personnel are encouraged to contact their area MSHA office.

Last month's special mine visits focusing on haulage safety took place at a sample of 209 coal mines and 153 metal and nonmetal mines in 33 states. Sate mine inspectors joined forces with MSHA to conduct the special haulage inspections in Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming.

SPECIAL MSHA HAULAGE INSPECTIONS AT COAL MINES

State         Mines Inspected         Serious Violations

Alabama             12                         8
Arizona              1                         0
Colorado             1                         0
Illinois             3                        14
Indiana              6                         8
Kentucky            65                       194
Missouri             1                         9
New Mexico           2                         2
Ohio                10                        29
Oklahoma             1                         0
Pennsylvania        29                        15
Texas                3                         3
Virginia            13                         0
West Virginia       60                       166
Wyoming              2                         0
                  ----                      ----
Total              209                       448

SPECIAL HAULAGE INSPECTIONS AT METAL/NONMETAL MINES

State         Mines Inspected         Serious Violations

Alabama              2                         0
Arizona             10                         1
California          15                         2
Florida              4                         0
Georgia              4                         0
Idaho                3                         0
Illinois             8                         3
Indiana              5                         3
Iowa                 4                         0
Kentucky             5                         0
Maryland             4                         1
Massachusetts        2                         0
Michigan             6                         1
Mississippi          2                         0
North Carolina       5                         0
New Jersey           4                         2
Nevada               6                         1
New York             4                         1
Ohio                15                         8
Oregon               4                         2
Pennsylvania         9                         0
Puerto Rico          4                         6
South Carolina       3                         0
Tennessee            8                         2
Texas                5                         5
Virginia             5                         3
Washington           5                         8
West Virginia        2                         4
                  ----                       ---
Total              153                        53