Preventing Equipment Related Injuries In Underground U. S. Coal Mines
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Preventing Equipment Related Injuries In Underground U. S. Coal Mines

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    In 2004, underground coal mines in the United States reported 3,405 injuries to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Of these, 17 percent were associated with the use of bolting machines, 8 percent with continuous miners, and 4 percent each with scoop/load-haul-dump (LHD), shuttle cars and personnel transport. Analysis of the injury narratives identified five hazards that required attention. They are rock falling from supported roof inadvertent or incorrect operation of bolting machine controls, handling continuous miner cable, collisions while driving underground vehicles and driving or traveling in underground vehicles on rough roadways. The rate of lost-time injuries has steadily decreased during the past 10 years (from more than 10 per 100 FTE in 1995, to six in 2004). However, underground coal mining remains a hazardous industry. One of the contributors to this elevated injury risk is working with or near underground coal mining equipment. Roof bolting machines and continuous miners have been consistently identified as high risk equipment. They account for approximately 24 percent of all injuries to underground coal miners (Sanders and Shaw, 1989). LHD's, shuttle cars and personnel transports are also associated with injuries in underground coal mines (Burgess-Limerick, 2005). Conventional analyses of injury statistics typically provide tables detailing the breakdown of injuries by body part nature of injury or mechanism of injury. Such analyses are worthwhile and may be helpful in tracking broad trends over time. Further information is available in the narrative text field completed for each injury reported. The detail contained in these narratives varies. However, they generally provide some insight into the causes of the injury, such as the activity being performed at the tune of
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