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Proximity detectors needed to save lives

Posted by Ellen Smith on July 5, 2013

Mine Safety and Health News Washington Correspondent Kathy Snyder took a long hard look at haulage fatalities in Mine Safety and Health News, Vol. 20, No. 12. The bottom line of her story is that many of the fatal accidents in underground mines would have been prevented if proximity detection devices were mandatory on haulage equipment.

On July 2,2013, Nathan Clarida, a 35 year old miner in the prime of his life died in a preventable haulage accident in the Peabody Coal’s Wildcat Hills Mine near Eldorado in Saline County, Ill., when he was hit by a ram car that was moving through a ventilation curtain. It wasn’t the first haulage accident at the mine — it was the third in less than 2 years, and with tragic consequences.

In the same mine, on Sept. 17, 2012, a miner was injured while walking up to mantrip to hook up tow rope. Not knowing a ram car was in reverse coming toward him, he was hit and pinned in between the ram car and mantrip.

On July 22, 2011, in the same mine, a miner was injured while building a stoppage utilizing 6″ solid blocks between the #5 & #6 entries. A coal haulage operator with a load drove through the curtain & struck the construction. The collision knocked the blocks onto the injured miner, causing him to suffer a severely lacerated right calf, a broken fibula & a broken patella.

In less than two years, proximity detection devices would have saved a life and prevented two lost time injuries in just one mine.

What is MSHA waiting for?

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