On December 23, 2019, a miner was fatally injured while attempting to remove a splice pin from a 72-inch mainline conveyor belt splice. A belt clamp and racket-style chain come along failed, releasing stored energy and causing the belt to shift upward and pin the miner against the frame of the belt tailpiece.
- Identify, isolate, and control stored energy: mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and gravitational. Relieve belt tension by releasing the energy at the take-up/belt storage system.
- Check your environment. Always be aware of an object in your work location that could move if stored energy is released.
- Check your equipment. Ensure belt clamps and other blocking equipment are substantial and properly rated for preventing conveyor belt movement.
- Securely install, anchor, inspect, and test blocking equipment to ensure that it is able to prevent movement.
- Conduct complete and thorough examinations from safe locations to identify hazards and items needing maintenance or repair.
- Ensure miners are trained on safe work procedures. Develop step-by-step procedures and review them with all miners before they perform non-routine maintenance tasks such as adding or removing conveyor belt.
- Properly block belts to secure components against motion.
- De-energize electrical power and lock and tag the visual disconnect before beginning a belt splice.
- Never use the start and stop controls (belt switches). This switch does not disconnect the power conductors.
- Lock out and tag out disconnecting devices. Only the person who installed them can remove the lock and tag, and only after completing the work.
- Talk to your coworkers. After the splice has been completed and before removing your lock and tag, ensure everyone is clear of the conveyor belt and communicate to others that you will be restarting the belt.
This is the 23rd fatality reported in 2019 in the mining industry, and the seventh classified as “Machinery”.