SOURCE: MSHA | May 31, 2021
On May 18, 2021, a telehandler was towing a trailer with a diesel pump onboard up an inclined underground roadway when the tow hitch suddenly broke. The trailer rolled down the roadway, striking and fatally injuring a contract laborer.
- Use towing hardware (hitches, tow bars, receivers, couplers, pins, pintles, safety chains/cables, etc.) which is properly designed and rated. Before each use, examine towing hardware for wear, cracks and other damage.
- Never exceed the recommended maximum towing capacity of a tow vehicle or trailer. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and only use equipment designed for towing.
- Always use properly sized safety chains in conjunction with hitches. Safety chains keep the trailer connected to the tow vehicle in case the other tow hardware fails.
- Never position yourself directly behind equipment being towed uphill.
- Establish procedures for safe and proper towing. Train miners to follow these procedures and identify hazards associated with towing.
This is the 12th fatality reported in 2021, and the third classified as “Machinery.”
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