When Roy Mullins went to work on May 28, 2015 at a surface mine in Kentucky, he had no idea it would be his last. Tragically, Mullins lost his life while attempting to attach a chain between a tractor trailer and a grader. An investigation found that the grader had rolled back into the tractor, pinning Mullins between the two pieces of heavy equipment.
In March 2015, a couple months earlier, Von Edwards Bower had met the same fate, falling victim to a fatal surface mining accident in West Virginia. Bower was hauling a load of diesel fuel on the jobsite when his truck overturned.
Sadly, incidents like this are not uncommon in the surface mining industry. Because of the dangerous nature of the work, a focus on prevention of accidents in the surface mining industry is vital. It’s not clear what went wrong in Roy and Von Edwards’ case, but with the right safety equipment and procedures, accidents like these can be greatly reduced.
In 2013, mining accidents took the lives of 42 workers, an increase from 2012. This statistic encompasses both surface and undergrown mining accidents. The good news is that between 2003 and 2012, nonfatal lost-time surface mining injuries decreased from 5,504 to 3,360.
MSHA Prevention of Accidents Training
Vivid’s Online Safety Training MSHA Prevention of Accidents course is designed to provide surface miners with annual refresher training given in MSHA CFR 30 Part 48B regarding the prevention of accidents. The course covers Part 56 Subpart Q- Safety Programs and Subpart S- Miscellaneous.
Safety in the mining industry is slowly seeing improvement, but there is still a long way to go. One of the most important steps to improving worker safety in the surface mining industry is educating employees on how to prevent accidents.
Accident prevention training emphasizes the importance of practicing safety and correcting unsafe behaviors and conditions to stop accidents before they can happen. Topics include defining personal responsibilities of each worker, confined space hazards and welding safety.
Periodic refresher trainings help keep safety at the top of worker’s minds, and reduce issues of complacency. Course assets like 3D animations and storytelling help workers stay engaged and retain information vital to their safety on the jobsite. Accounts of real-life incidents also make training more memorable.
Roy Mullins and Von Edward Bower lost their lives on the job. Let’s do everything we can to prevent more deaths like theirs on the jobsite. Surface mining work poses many dangers, but avoiding accidents is possible with the proper safety training, procedures and equipment.