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Electrocutions spur MSHA safety alert about overhead power lines

Photo: Mine Safety and Health Administration

Arlington, VA — Recent deaths involving miners working near overhead power lines have prompted the Mine Safety and Health Administration to issue a safety alert.

In two separate incidents on Jan. 27 and Feb. 6, three miners were electrocuted after their trucks came into contact with overhead power lines, MSHA reports. Each miner contacted electrical energy after exiting the truck. In the case of one haul truck driver, the electrocution occurred when he attempted to reenter the vehicle after extinguishing a tire that was on fire.

Among MSHA’s best practices for working safely near electricity:

  • Don’t stage, park or position trucks, cranes or other equipment under overhead power lines.
  • Post warning signs at all approaches to overhead power lines and install barricades where necessary.
  • Establish safe approaches and create safe zones for raising and lowering truck beds, booms and masts.

If your truck, boom or mast contacts an overhead power line, remain inside the vehicle (unless it’s on fire) and call emergency response personnel. Tell other people to stay away.

If the truck is on fire and you need to get out, jump from it and try to land with both feet together – without touching the truck and ground at the same time. Move away from the truck by shuffling both feet as close as possible for at least 30 feet.

The alert is available in English and Spanish.

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