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Ways to Prevent Injuries From Backhoes and Mine Rock Falls
Contact: Fred Blosser (202)
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) inaugurated a new series of publications with two new documents that offer practical ways to prevent occupational injuries and deaths from backhoes and mine rock falls.
The documents are the first in a new NIOSH “Workplace Solutions” series that offers easy-to-understand, easy-to-access, and easy-to-use recommendations that turn the results of NIOSH research into occupational safety and health practice.
“Workplace Solutions: Preventing Injuries When Working with Hydraulic Excavators and Backhoe Loaders,” DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-107, notes that 346 workplace deaths were associated with excavators or backhoe loaders during 1992-2000. The fatalities included deaths that were caused when operators or nearby employees were struck by the machines or components of the equipment, struck by excavator buckets that unexpectedly detached, or electrocuted.
Practical steps suggested by NIOSH for preventing injuries and fatalities include these:
“Workplace Solutions: Ground Fall Injuries in Underground Stone Mines,” DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-106, notes that employees in underground stone mines have a fatality rate nearly 20 times higher than that of employees in the manufacturing sector. As many as 35 new underground stone mines are expected to open in 2005, many of which will employ new or inexperienced workers.
Three quarters of all fatalities in underground stone mines are caused by ground falls, or pieces of rock falling from the roofs or walls of mines and striking employees. Nearly half of all injuries involving ground falls were associated with scaling – the removal of loose rock from the roof or walls of a mine before mining operations resume there.
Precautions recommended by NIOSH to avoid risk of injury or death include these:
“Workplace Solutions: Preventing Injuries When Working with Hydraulic Excavators and Backhoe Loaders” is available on the NIOSH web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2004-107/default.html
“Workplace Solutions: Ground Fall Injuries in Underground Stone Mines” is available on the web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2004-106/default.html
For printed copies of the documents, or for further information on NIOSH research, call the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674).