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MSHA issues safety alert on nondestructive testing, wire rope examinations

MSHA wire rope exam
Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA – Prompted by insufficient inspections of wire rope incorrectly determined to be safe for service, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert regarding nondestructive testing and wire rope examinations.

MSHA recommends that mine operators use NDT when performing required six-month inspections of wire ropes. The procedure assesses the active length of hoist ropes for loss of metallic area, broken wires, corrosion and strength loss by using magnetic or ultrasound waves to evaluate the inner workings of the rope without cutting it.

MSHA offers nine best practices for maintaining wire ropes:

  • Perform wire rope NDT at least once every six months.
  • Review NDT results to identify deteriorated portions of rope that require more frequent visual examination.
  • Examine daily any portion of the rope in which there is a reduction of strength.
  • Perform examinations during daylight hours.
  • Do not exceed a rate of 50 feet per minute when conducting visual examinations.
  • Clean and remove old lubricant, especially in high-stress sections, for optimal visual examinations.
  • Follow manufacturer guidance for proper lubrication, and use pressure lubricators for proper lubrication at the core level.
  • Correct mining conditions that foster corrosion.
  • Install and maintain wear blocks and rollers to manage rope wear.

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