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Mobile Equipment Accidents Contribute to Metal/Non-Metal Fatalities in 2017

During 2017, there have been multiple metal/non-metal fatalities involving mobile equipment. The most recent fatalgram posted on the MSHA website described an October 17, 2017 fatality involving an operator that was ejected from the cab of a bulldozer and subsequently run over. On October 31, 2017, a mine accident resulted in the death of two miners, including a safety supervisor with more than 25 years of mining experience. The supervisor was driving a van at the time it was run over by a 340 ton haul truck. There were seven other passengers in the van who suffered minor injuries. The occurrence of back to back mobile equipment fatalities in the metal/non-metal sector, one of which involving a veteran safety superintendent and a trainee, may result in enforcement emphasis not only on safety mobile equipment operation practice, but task training as well.

Historically, mobile equipment accidents have been a consistent factor behind metal/non-metal fatalities, and deficient task training has been targeted as a possible contributing factor in the rising number of mining related fatalities in recent years. Consequently, MSHA has been enforcing task training citations at a higher level in recent years. In June, 2017, MSHA issued a letter detailing how less experienced miners suffer injuries at a higher rate than more experienced miners, indicating a problem with sound task training. The recent metal/non-metal mobile equipment fatalities may result in a similar initiative being formalized by the agency. At the very least, mine operators should be prepared for stronger enforcement on task training and mobile equipment issues.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017

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About this Author

Of Counsel

Justin M. Winter is Of Counsel in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. His practice focuses on workplace safety and health, and representing clients in MSHA proceedings and before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Mr. Winter handles contests of MSHA citations and orders, and routinely assists clients during inspection, including communication with MSHA local field and...

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