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MSHA issues safety alert on operating equipment near water

Protect miners from drowning incidents

Posted March 8, 2024

Between 2010 and 2023, 11 miners drowned in incidents involving submerged mobile equipment. To ensure workers’ safety, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently issued a safety alert for operating mobile equipment near water.

In each of the fatal incidents, the mobile equipment became submerged, trapping the worker. The safety alert recommends that miners take the following safety measures when working near water:

  • Examine the worksite and eliminate any hazards,
  • Keep mobile equipment away from the water’s edge, and
  • Wear a seatbelt while operating mobile equipment.

To ensure miner safety, employers should:

  • Provide emergency underwater breathing devices to miners at risk of falling into water,
  • Train miners on how to use underwater breathing devices,
  • Make sure water rescue equipment is readily accessible,
  • Ensure miners wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I or Type V personal flotation device, and
  • Develop an underwater emergency egress kit to assist miners in exiting a submerged cab.

Each of these safety measures can ensure miners’ safety while operating mobile equipment near water.

This article was written by Carmen King of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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