Mining Publication: Machine-Related Injuries in the US Mining Industry and Priorities for Safety Research
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health studied mining accidents that involved a worker entangled in, struck by, or in contact with machinery or equipment in motion. The motivation for this study came from the large number of severe accidents, i.e. accidents resulting in a fatality or permanent disability, that are occurring despite available interventions. Accident descriptions were taken from an accident database maintained by the United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, and 562 accidents that occurred during 2000-2007 fit the search criteria. Machine-related accidents accounted for 41% of all severe accidents in the mining industry during this period. Machinery most often involved in these accidents included conveyors, rock bolting machines, milling machines and haulage equipment such as trucks and loaders. The most common activities associated with these accidents were operation of the machine and maintenance and repair. The current methods to safeguard workers near machinery include mechanical guarding around moving components, lockout/tagout of machine power during maintenance and backup alarms for mobile equipment. To decrease accidents further, researchers recommend additional efforts in the development of new control technologies, training materials and dissemination of information on best practices.