Three fatal bulldozer crashes and a fatal shuttle car incident led the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to issue two safety alerts in late October 2023.
All three bulldozer crashes involved a lack of seat belt use and the shuttle car incident saw the death of a miner who was pinned against a coal rib by the vehicle.
The Oct. 2, 2023 shuttle car incident marked the 35th fatality reported in 2023 and the 10th classified as “powered haulage.”
Seat belts, workplace examinations may have prevented 3 deaths
In all three bulldozer crashes, each operator failed to wear their seatbelts. MSHA did not provide the dates of each incident.
One bulldozer operator was killed when his bulldozer rolled 375 feet down an embankment. The second operator was fatally injured in a similar incident when his bulldozer rolled 300 feet down an embankment. A third operator was killed when he backed his bulldozer over the edge of a highwall.
- conducting workplace examinations prior to beginning work
- maintaining control and staying alert when operating mobile equipment
- wearing seat belts when operating equipment, and
- training miners to perform tasks safely and to recognize potential hazards.
Miner pinned by shuttle car when operator failed to see him
The Oct. 2, 2023 shuttle car incident involved a miner being pinned between the car and a coal rib. MSHA didn’t go into much detail, but it seems that the miner who was killed was crushed because the car’s operator couldn’t see him.
MSHA listed several best practices for pedestrians to avoid a similar incident, including:
- communicating their presence and intended movements to equipment operators and waiting for acknowledgement before moving
- avoiding “red zone” areas where equipment operators can’t readily see them, and
- increasing visibility by using reflective clothing or strobe light devices.