On August 10, 2016, MSHA issued a drill safety alert for operators regarding the dangers posed by rotating machinery that can entangle clothing and body parts and result in serious injuries and death. The safety alert was spurred by seven fatalities since 2002 involving drills and the risk of entanglement in rotating machinery. In press coverage regarding the release of the safety alert, Joseph Main, the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, stated that:
“Paying attention to safe job procedures, staying clear of rotating drill and augers, complying with drilling safety standards and following best practices will reduce the risk of death or injury.”
MSHA’s safety alert identifies 12 best practices that drill operators could implement to reduce their risk. Some of the practices identified include establishing written policies for the type of clothing and methods to secure clothing when working around drills, not allowing drill operators to wear loose-fitting or bulky clothing when working around drilling machinery, stopping the drill rotation when performing tasks near the rotating steel, assuring that machine controls and safety devices operate effectively and are in easily accessible locations, and communicating regularly and frequently with drillers to assure that they are safe and well.