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MSHA proposes rule requiring written programs for mobile, powered haulage equipment

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Washington — The Mine Safety and Health Administration is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would require certain mine operators to establish a written safety program for mobile and powered haulage equipment.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Sept. 9 Federal Register, MSHA is aiming to improve safety at surface mines and surface areas of underground mines by requiring mine operators employing at least six miners to develop written safety programs for equipment, including bulldozers, front-end loaders, skid steers and haul trucks. The proposed rule excludes belt conveyors. MSHA estimates that around 41% of U.S. mines employ six or more miners.

A successful written safety program would include actions mine operators could take to identify hazards and risks with the objective of mitigating incidents, injuries and fatalities related to surface mobile equipment.

MSHA reported that, as of July 15, nine fatalities and 185 nonfatal injuries related to powered haulage have occurred this year. In January, the agency issued a report that indicates deaths related to powered haulage represented 21% of the overall total of fatal occupational injuries among miners in 2020. However, data presented June 9 during a virtual conference call for industry stakeholders shows that fatalities involving the activities represent about half of miner fatalities to date this year.

 

In July, MSHA hosted a national Stand Down for Safety Day in an effort to reduce powered haulage incidents.

In June 2018, MSHA issued a Request for Information seeking input on technologies that may help reduce incidents involving mobile equipment at surface mines, as well as belt conveyors at surface and underground mines. The agency also conducted six public stakeholder meetings and hosted a webinar in subsequent months.

The deadline to comment on the proposed rule is Nov. 8.

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