MSHA Repeating Its Warning About Operating Mobile Equipment Near Water

SOURCE: MSHA | March 1, 2024

Arlington, VA — Miners operating mobile equipment near water should always examine the worksite, remain a safe distance from the water’s edge and wear a seat belt.

Those recommendations are included in a recently published safety alert from the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The agency notes that 11 of the 19 fatal drowning incidents recorded between 2010 and 2023 involved mobile equipment becoming submerged when operating near water.

Tips for mine operators include:

  • Eliminate hazardous conditions.
  • Provide emergency underwater breathing devices to miners with risk of falling into water. These “are commercially available, and they come in all different shapes and sizes.”
  • Train miners in the use of underwater breathing devices in case of an emergency. “If made available and miners are properly trained, these devices can potentially increase miners’ chances of survival if they fall into water.”
  • Keep water rescue equipment easily accessible.
  • Provide and ensure miners wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I or Type V personal flotation device.
  • Develop an underwater emergency egress kit to assist miners in exiting a submerged cab. Contents may include a nose clip, mask, underwater breathing device, personal flotation device, and glass-breaking device.

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