Roof bolter safety
Roof bolter operators are killed at work more frequently than any other type of mine worker, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. To perform their job safely, MSHA reminds all roof bolter operators to:
- Always visually examine and test the roof, face and ribs immediately before any work is started.
- Never travel inby permanent roof supports, especially to mark a roof bolting pattern.
- Keep a bar of suitable length on the roof bolting machine to scale down loose rock.
- Ensure the advanced temporary roof support system is in proper operating condition before installing bolts.
- Control respirable dust.
- Do not operate the roof bolter when the advanced temporary roof support system does not contact the roof. Use only manufacturer-approved extensions.
- Ensure all components of the roof bolter – including all levers, tram control and panic bar – are in proper working condition before installing bolts.
- Know the approved roof control plan, including all manufacturer recommendations on installation of bolts and resin.
- Add additional supports at any indication of adverse roof conditions.
- Stay in a safe location under permanent support walls when installing roof supports.
- Always follow bolt installation sequence and drill all holes to proper depth – not more than 1 inch deeper than the bolt’s length.
- Use the proper finishing bit when installing shell-type bolts. Be sure resin is maintained at mine temperature before use.
- Check that all bolts are installed in the proper torque range.
- Drill additional test holes if there is a question about adverse roof conditions. Roof conditions during drilling should be communicated to co-workers.
- Never hold drill steel or place hands on drill pot while installing bolts.