AMSJ » ‘Sudden release’ kills two, injures six underground mine workers

‘Sudden release’ kills two, injures six underground mine workers

Conveyor stored energy deaths
Conveyor stored energy deaths

An unexpected movement injured and ended the lives of multiple subterranean employees.

Authorities recently examined how two workers passed away, and a further six suffered lost-time injuries at an underground operation.

Investigators discovered stored energy was sudden released while all crew members worked near conveyor belt systems at the undisclosed location.

“A general labourer was fatally injured when he was caught between a 72-inch (182.8cm) wide belt and the steel frame of the belt tailpiece,” the Mine Safety and Health Administration said in a safety alert.

“A belt foreman was fatally injured when a longwall belt conveyor take-up unit component, the bridle broke and struck him.”

They made the following recommendations:

  • train mine workers on safety aspects and safe work procedures for moving, maintaining and repairing conveyor belts
  • perform risk assessments prior to beginning work to identify and control stored energy: Mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and gravity
  • ensure conveyor belts movements, maintenance and repairs are performed with the correct replacement parts, proper tools and suitable rigging
  • install properly designed safety restraints for moving parts like movable carriages, bridles and take-up sleds as a backup in case primary components fail
  • train mine workers to stay in safe locations while in a conveyor belt entry, away from the belt drive and take-up winches, when starting or stopping the belt
  • develop safe work procedures that eliminate or safely control stored energy including lock out/tag out, blocking against motion and securing the conveyor belt.

Click here to read the full safety alert.

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