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September 28, 2012
MSHA hazard alert addresses conveyor start-up risks

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued an alert regarding best practices in lockout of belt conveyors. According to the agency, three miners died in recent months when the belt conveyors they were working on started unexpectedly.

In each case the conveyor drive motor was not deenergized, locked, and tagged. In one accident, a coworker knew the victim had not locked out. Two of the victims had less than 6 months of experience.

MSHA advises the following:

  • Deenergize, lock, and tag the drive motor.
  • Establish and follow safe work procedures.
  • Train miners on assigned tasks.
  • Maintain communication with all miners.
  • Visually check conveyors before start up.
  • Account for all miners on a team.
  • Provide and use a pre-start-up alarm.
  • Use fall protection when needed.
  • Provide and maintain a safe means of access.
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