3 Electrical Deaths in Mining Industry in 2 Months

Source: 123RF

Electricity has killed three people in the mining industry since August 7, 2019.

The US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued an electrical safety alert, warning workers:

“Don’t rush. Lockout/Tagout. Control hazards.”

The deaths reported were:

  • An electrician contacted an energized component of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit while adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the panel that supplied power to the plant feed belt motors.
  • A contract electrician contacted an energized 120 VAC conductor while working inside a fire suppression system’s electrical panel; and
  • An electrician contacted an exposed energized connector while troubleshooting a 995 VAC flooded bed scrubber motor circuit on-board a continuous mining machine.

MSHA has made the following safety recommendations to prevent electrical accidents:

  • Lockout/Tagout circuits before working on electrical equipment.
  • Don’t rush. Never work alone. Talk to coworkers and confirm your plan is safe.
  • Identify and control all hazardous energy sources before conducting any task and follow safe work procedures.
    • Open the circuit breaker or load break switch to de-energize the incoming power cables or conductors
    • Open the visual disconnect to confirm incoming power is off
    • Lockout/Tagout the visual disconnect
    • Ground the de-energized conductors
  • Train miners on equipment they may use.
  • Electricians must know how to de-energize and disconnect electrical systems and equipment.
  • Always troubleshoot without power first.
  • If you must troubleshoot an energized circuit, use properly rated personal protective equipment to prevent hazards. For example, use electrically rated gloves, insulated blankets or mats, and polycarbonate barriers to prevent accidental contact with energized components.

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