I recently visited the U.S. Department of Labor website and looked at the resources they offer through the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). If you haven’t already, I recommend you check out their training videos. MSHA has a library of training videos on safety topics ranging from conveyor safety to fall protection.
Even if you have been in the mining industry for many years, it is still worth taking a look to refresh your memory. Sometimes when you are in the midst of daily operations, you can forget the safety precautions that are necessary to keep the operations running both efficiently and safely. Granted, some of these videos may not have been filmed recently, but the content is still valuable.
Here are five MSHA training videos related to surface metal/non-metal mines that are offered and some of my comments as I watched them:
- Preventing Powered Haulage Accidents at Surface Mines. Those who have been around the big machines know just how massive the trucks can be. In fact, many of the haulers are several stories tall. And while one may think that gives the driver a great view of the surroundings, one might not realize that the operator has no visibility of anything — or anyone — closely surrounding the vehicle. That means that if there are pedestrians standing in front of the haul truck, the operator may not see them, and a tragedy can happen if the vehicle moves forward. Listen to the National Mine Health and Safety Academy instructor as he offers advice and best practices to help stay safe. (video length: 6:13 min)
- Conveyor Safety at Surface Mines. The power and speed of belt conveyors can present unique hazards for miners, and accidents can happen in an instant. The MSHA offers three key guidelines to help prevent tragedies. First, install proper guarding. (Don’t forget to turn off the power first!) Then lock out, tag out, and block against motion. Lastly, provide crossovers for belt conveyors. The video goes into details for each of these guidelines, including making sure conveyors are equipped with emergency stop devices.
We discussed conveyor protection switches in a previous article (Stop The Conveyor!… by Using Conveyor Protection Switches). There are three common types of conveyor protection switches to help ensure the safety of your operations: belt misalignment switch, safety cable pull switch, and a tripper position switch. These Conveyor Protection Switches are used for position information, control signals, and to identify potentially hazardous situations with your process equipment. They utilize a rugged, heavy-duty design to protect your equipment, prevent accidents and reduce unscheduled shutdowns.
Here are a few more examples of material conveyor monitoring instruments, tripping systems, and switches used around bulk process equipment and belt conveyors:
- Industrial process monitors watch operating processes for potentially hazardous conditions and activate an alarm when they occur.
- There are motion monitoring systems that sense the speed variation of rotating parts and can detect under-speed, over-speed, and zero-speed conditions of machinery and systems. This not only helps keep workers safe from materials falling off the belt, but it also helps reduce downtime and increase productivity. Under-speed switches monitor the rotational velocity of a shaft or other rotating equipment to help monitor under-speed or slippage conditions. Alarms go off to notify workers when speed drops below an adjustable set point.
- Fall Protection: Your Lifeline To Safety
This video addresses common types of fall protection – especially around holes and elevated positions — and what’s required under mining regulations. MSHA regulations require the use of a fall protection program, with site-specific policies and procedures designed by a qualified person, to identify, evaluate, manage, and control fall hazards.
- Workplace examinations. MSHA gives ideas and tips on how to look for hazards during a typical workplace examination. MSHA discusses how one way to do a workplace examination is to follow the production process through the mine from beginning to end. Watch the video to see items you should consider, including pits, roads, walls, berms, dump points, travel-ways, steps, spilled materials, structures, guards, bumper blocks, railings, bins, hoppers, traffic signs, communication systems, illumination and ventilation systems, electrical hazards, and fire protection and sanitary systems – among many other items. There are so many items, small and large, that could be a hazard, it makes sense to have a formal program in place.
- SLAM For Life MSHA Risk Assessment. This MSHA video shows how to help prevent injuries from lifting; slips, trips, and falls; and mounting and dismounting equipment. MSHA goes over the Stop-Look-Analyze-Manage method for analyzing, recognizing, and managing the hazards around different tasks. This assessment tool can be used at the mine site and in the operations office.
Watching these videos will take less than an hour. There are others you can watch on different hazards as well. Take advantage of these refresher videos to help make your mining site a more safe place to operate.