The US Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has published a Request for Information (RFI) seeking safety data on technologies that could reduce dangers in American mines.

The RFI was published yesterday and focuses on reducing accidents involving mobile equipment at surface mines, and belt conveyors at surface and underground mines.

The request reads: “The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is taking a number of actions related to mobile equipment and belt conveyors to improve miners’ safety, including providing technical assistance, conducting awareness campaigns, and developing best practices and training materials.

“MSHA is also considering the role of engineering controls that would increase the use of seatbelts, enhance equipment operators’ ability to see all areas near the machine, warn equipment operators of potential collision hazards, prevent equipment operators from driving over a highwall or dump point, and help prevent entanglement hazards related to working near moving or re-energised belt conveyors.”

The document is part of the MSHA’s initiative to reduce accidents involving powered haulage, which includes trucks, loaders and other large vehicles. While 2018 is on track to be the safest year in US mining history, the deaths of eight miners since January, including an accident earlier this month in which a West Virginia coal miner was fatally struck by a steel object, have been a cause for concern for the MSHA.

The Administration aims to hold stakeholder meetings and provide technical assistance to develop a system of best practices to minimise the risks of mobile equipment and belt conveyors.

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Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and health David G. Zatezalo said: “The Trump Administration is committed to the health and safety of America’s miners. Through the deployment of modern technologies, such as proximity detection, we can help ensure that miners return home safely at the end of their shifts.

“MSHA is also interested in learning more about how seat belts can be more widely used in mining operations to prevent injuries.”