Worker deaths spur MSHA safety alert on electrical hazards
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.