From 1998 through 2015, sixty-one miners died at metal and nonmetal operations during the month of October. That’s an average of more than three fatal accidents each October since 1998. Ten miners died in October 1999; eight miners died in October 2002; no one died in October 2015. In all other years in the time period, between one and six miners died in “Deadly October”. The bar graph illustrates the number of fatalities in each year since 1998.
During the review period, the most common types of accidents were “powered haulage” followed by “fall of person”. These two accident classes accounted for 46% of the total. Metal and nonmetal operators, contractors and miners can reduce the risk of experiencing a fatal injury associated with falling or operating powered haulage equipment by complying with these “Rules To Live By” priority and other standards, and following these best practices:
• §56/57.9300 Berms and guardrails
• §56/57.9101 Operating speeds and control of equipment;
• §56/57.14100(b) Safety defects; examination, correction and records;
• §56/57.14101(a) Brake performance;
• §56/57.14130(g) Seat belts shall be worn by equipment operators;
• §56/57.14131(a) Seat belts shall be provided and worn in haul trucks;
• §56/57.14205 Machinery, equipment and tools;
• §56/57.14207 Parking procedures for unattended equipment;
• §56/57.15005 Safety belts and lines;
• §56/57.15020 Life jackets and belts;
• §56/57.16002(c) Bins, hoppers, silos, tanks, and surge piles;
• §56/57.18002 Examination of working places.
• Plan and discuss the work before starting the job, and ask for questions to be certain that all miners understand how to operate safely.
• Wear personal protective equipment, including hard hat, safety shoes, glasses and gloves at a minimum. If working at height, use a fall protection harness and lanyard attached to a secure anchorage.
• For infrequent jobs that are common this time of year due to seasonal work, task training completed in the past may need to be reviewed again with miners before beginning the task. Conduct safety meetings as needed. Multiple meetings during the week may be necessary.
• If contractors are working on the job, a contractor training plan is required, and miner training must be complete and current. Contractors must comply with MSHA’s regulations, and they must work safely.
The graph shows that in the seven years from 2009 through 2015, the mining community and MSHA worked together to significantly reduce the number of fatalities that occurred in October months. MSHA will conduct “walk and talks” in October 2016 to focus on fatality prevention at MNM operations. The goal is ZERO FATALITIES IN OCTOBER 2016 to carry forward until the end of this year and longer!