MSHA to host public hearings on proximity detection systems


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Arlington, VA – The Mine Safety and Health Administration is scheduled to host four stakeholder meetings in October about its proposed rule that would require underground coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with proximity detection technology.

The meetings are set to take place:

  • Oct. 6 in Denver
  • Oct. 8 in Birmingham, AL
  • Oct. 19 in Beaver, WV
  • Oct. 29 in Indianapolis

Miners can be exposed to crushing, pinning and striking hazards that can result in serious injury or death when working near mobile machines in underground coal mines.

According to the rule, which was published in the Sept. 2 Federal Register, proximity detection systems use electronic sensors to determine motion or proximity between objects. The systems can send a warning and stop the coal hauling machine before it injures or kills workers in the confined space of an underground coal mine.

Proximity detection systems could have prevented 42 deaths on mobile machines between 1984 and 2015, according to MSHA. Comments on the rule must be received by Dec. 1.

MSHA published a final rule in January that requires underground coal mine operators to equip continuous mining machines with proximity detection technology.