The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert urging miners to buckle their seat belts while operating mobile equipment.
According to a review of mining fatalities from 2010 to 2015, approximately three miners who die in mobile equipment accidents each year were not properly wearing their seat belt.
MSHA said the lives of miners could be saved if they buckled their seat belt while operating mobile equipment. In its alert, MSHA and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said they are teaming up in an alliance to increase seat belt usage among equipment operators to achieve their goal, “Zero injury, Zero harm.”
In its safety alert, the agency said it is targeting operators who do not consistently wear seat belts every time they are behind the wheel of mobile equipment.
The mine safety agency pointed to trends in the automotive and commercial airline industries to underscore the benefits of seat belt use and the impact of regulatory oversight and enforcement. The National Safety Council, it said, notes the national average of seat belt use is 88 percent, with seat belt use 11 percent higher in states with primary enforcement laws than in states with secondary enforcement only. Further, commercial airline passengers are more likely to buckle up because of the industry’s standards for pre-flight instruction, cabin lights that indicate seatbelts should be fastened, seat belt announcements, and regular staff and management follow up.
MSHA recommends that employers establish and enforce at their sites a clear seat belt policy that includes best practices in engineering and administrative controls.