|MSHA Job Safety Tips|
Suggested Safety Measures for Operating Equipment on Surge Piles
Accidents can occur at surge piles when a person, or a piece of equipment, is drawn down into the feeding material. Feeding material acts like "quicksand."
Another danger is that a person or piece of equipment can fall into a hidden cavity above a feeder when the bridged over material collapses.
The following safety suggestions apply to surge piles where equipment, normally a dozer, operates directly on the stockpiled material, to push the material to the feeder openings.
- Never operate equipment directly over a feeder.
- Never walk on stockpiled material in the area of a feeder.
- Always operate equipment with it facing the feeder.
- Indicate feeder locations with an overhead marker.
- Use signal lights to indicate an active feeder.
- Use equipment with a fully-enclosed cab.
- Equip the cab with self-contained self-rescuers.
- Equip the cab with a two-way radio.
- Have adequate illumination at night.
- Before starting a feeder, check that miners or equipment are not in the area.
- Have operators in their equipment and on the pile early in the loading operation so that they can observe how the material is feeding.
- Operate with the drawhole kept nearly full to avoid having equipment drawn into it.
- Get training on the potential hazards and safety precautions.
- Have a chart in the cab indicating expected drawhole size for different pile heights.
- Notify the supervisor if a cavity forms or is suspected.
- To eliminate a cavity, remove material, starting from well off to the side of the possible cavity and away from other feeders.
- Consider using a video camera and monitor if the surge pile cannot be seen from the control panel.
- Have contingency plans in place should a piece of equipment become trapped.
U.S. Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration