Maintenance and repair injuries in US mining
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Maintenance and repair injuries in US mining

Filetype[PDF-162.54 KB]



  • Alternative Title:
    J Qual Maint Eng
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:
    Purpose –

    The purpose of this paper is to identify key tasks, tools, and equipment associated with maintenance and repair injuries at US mines and to provide some mitigation strategies to reduce these types of injuries.

    Design/methodology/approach –

    This study analyzed incidents resulting in injuries reported to the US Mine Safety and Health Administration from 2002 to 2011. Incident reports were limited to those occurring at mining plants, shops, yards, and aboveground locations. Incident reports were analyzed to determine which activities contributed to injuries and were due to machine maintenance and repair, non-powered hand tools, and powered hand tools. An in-depth analysis of the root causes of these injuries was then performed.

    Findings –

    Maintenance and repair in mining is associated with a significant number of hand and finger injuries with a range of severities and averaging over 20 amputated fingers, 180 fractured hands and fingers, and 455 hand and finger lacerations per year. Many of these injuries are caused by hands being struck by or caught in tools and equipment. Back and shoulder strains are found to be associated with the most days lost from work and are mostly attributed to materials handling.

    Practical implications –

    Occupational injuries and fatalities still occur with high incidences in the mining sector. The mission of the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR; part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH) is to “eliminate mining fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through research and prevention.” As part of this work, OMSHR acquires surveillance data from MSHA to quantify the types and sources of injuries at US mining facilities. The authors evaluated maintenance- and repair-related injuries at US mining sites (excluding underground coal mines). Results of this study suggest a need for improved design of machine guarding, improved hand protection through gloves and equipment design/redesign, and manual materials handling solutions.

    Originality/value –

    The findings indicate that maintenance and repair in mining include occupational risks that may be managed through modifications to machines, proper usage of hand tools and hand protection, and improved manual materials handling processes.

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