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MSHA issues safety alert on stockpiles

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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has released a safety alert in response to seven stockpile incidents involving dozers in 2015.

The incidents did not result in injuries, but they could have, the alert states. The majority of the incidents occurred when the dozer fell into a “hidden cavity” under a bridge of material when material under the bridge was taken away. If equipment condenses material at the pile’s surface or the surface material freezes, bridging can occur. Idle stockpiles are susceptible to bridging, the alert notes.

MSHA provides the following best practices for avoiding stockpile incidents:

  • Put in place cavity-detection systems. Caution workers.
  • Follow safe procedures when removing cavities.
  • Avoid operating equipment over a feeder.
  • Place markers overhead of a feeder to point out its location.
  • Consider installing a proximity detection system to notify equipment operators if they are nearing a predetermined distance from the feeder.
  • Install lights or signal systems that identify operating feeders.
  • Operate equipment that faces the feeder.
  • Install special high-strength safety glass in dozer cabs used on stockpiles.
  • Furnish stockpile dozers with a transmitter that has an alarm and halts feeders and belts when the signal is lost.
  • Store self-contained self-rescuers and flashlights in dozer cabs.
  • Train miners about alarm response, equipment needs and disabled dozer recovery.

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