Mining Project: Reducing Machine Guarding-Related Injuries in Mining

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Principal Investigator
Start Date 4/1/2014
End Date 9/30/2014

To assess the types of injuries mine workers sustain when handling machine covers and guards. Additionally, this research is necessary to determine which areas (commodity, location type, and equipment) should be the focus of future machine cover and guard redesign efforts.

Topic Area

Research Summary

Machine or equipment covers and guards are used to protect a worker from contacting moving equipment or entering a dangerous work area. Many of these covers and guards are one solid piece of metal to ensure that workers are fully protected from the hazard. However, handling a solid piece of metal may require significant physical exertions, putting a mine worker at risk when covers and guards are not designed with maintenance work in mind. Machine guarding contributes to over 200 injuries per year, making this research necessary to improve the safety of mine workers handling machine guards.

This project had three research aims:

  1. Determine the prevalence and severity of injuries to mine workers caused by handling machine covers and guards in surface and underground mining operations.
  2. Determine the key types of equipment or guard features (dimensions, weights) associated with specific types of injuries.
  3. Determine the root causes for the injuries identified in aim 1.

To reach these aims, researchers analyzed MSHA injury records from 2004 to 2013 to determine which types of machine guarding are associated with the most prevalent and most severe types of injuries. This data allowed researchers to determine which commodities and types of mine sites to visit and what design specifications to acquire from machine guarding manufacturers. The injuries identified were analyzed to identify root causes and contributing factors.

Page last reviewed: November 16, 2016
Page last updated: November 16, 2016