The US-based Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has released the preliminary details on the fatality of an experienced mine worker who was killed while working on the pad of a highwall mining machine. The workers head was crushed in a pinch point on the machine.
The mining accident occurred at a mine being run by South Fork Coal LLC ( owned by White Forest Resources) in Greenbrier County West Virginia.
MSHA said ‘On Thursday, March 7, 2019, a 38-year-old mine worker with 10 years of mining experience received fatal injuries while he was working on the pad of a highwall mining machine (HWM). The mine worker was contacted in a pinch point between a post and a section of the HWM (i.e. push beam) that was being removed as part of the normal mining cycle.’
According to MSHA, the Highwall Mining machine was manufactured by Superior Lidgerwood Mundy.
MSHA has recommended mine to adopt a range of best practices when working with Highwall Mining Machines including:
- Establishing and discussing safe work procedures for removing push beams. Identify and control all hazards and develop methods to protect mine workers;
- Determining the proper working position to avoid pinch points. Monitor personnel to ensure safe work procedures are followed.
- Always follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommended maintenance procedures and discuss these procedures during training;
- Training miners to recognize potential hazardous conditions and understand safe job procedures before beginning work.
We note that some of these recommendations may not be acceptable under Australian mining safety legislation and caution readers that hazard based control measures are relevant to their respective jurisdictions.
This is the fifth fatality reported in the USA this calendar year (2019).
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The sequence of operation of a highwall mining machine.
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