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Worker deaths spur MSHA safety alert on electrical hazards

Photo: MSHA

Arlington, VA — Prompted by reports of three recent fatalities involving electricity, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert.

MSHA details a trio of separate incidents that have occurred since Aug. 7. According to the agency, these incidents involved electricians who made contact with:

  • An energized component of an electrical circuit while adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and internal components of a panel that supply power to the plant feed belt motors.
  • An energized conductor when performing work inside the electrical panel of a fire suppression system. (Note: This electrician was a contract worker.)
  • An exposed connector while troubleshooting a flooded bed scrubber motor circuit on board a continuous mining machine.

MSHA offers numerous best practices for electrical incident prevention. Among them:

  • Perform lockout/tagout procedures on circuits before working on electrical equipment.
  • Don’t rush, and never work alone. Talk with co-workers and confirm your plan is safe.
  • Identify and control all hazardous energy sources before conducting tasks, and follow safe work procedures.
  • Train miners on equipment they may use.
  • Always perform troubleshooting without power. If you must troubleshoot an energized circuit, use properly rated personal protective equipment to prevent hazards.

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