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Coal Mining: Do You Know How to Stay Safe?

Coal mining is essential to New Mexico’s economy, and an important part of its history. Unfortunately, mining remains a dangerous industry with a number of daily risks. Workers can easily be injured working with the powerful machinery, trucks, occasional fires, slip and fall accidents, chemical hazards, and from a number of other causes. Do you know the leading cause of coal mining injuries, and how you can stay safe on the job?

Powered haulage trucks

Analyzing data from 2013 to 2017, powered haulage trucks caused the most coal mining fatalities. This year, powered haulage trucks have already caused five coal surface mining deaths.

Trucks are a necessary part of mining. They are used to transport workers, materials, coal, and waste. Since you cannot remove trucks from the mining process, let’s take a look at some of the major contributing factors to the accidents, and see how you can stay safe around them.

Danger Factors

A number of factors contribute to trucking accidents at the mine. A few of the most common causes of truck failure and incident are:

  1. Steep road gradientsThe trucks were designed to travel on relatively flat surfaces. Driving on hills stresses the truck’s mechanics, and can lead to malfunction.
  2. Heavy loads. Heavy loads stress out the equipment and can unbalance the truck, leading to equipment failures or accidents.
  3. Inadequate road design. Mine roads must be wide enough to support a truck, relatively flat, and durable to support a loaded truck’s weight.
  4. Poor equipment maintenance and operating policies. Poor maintenance can lead to faulty brakes and other dangerous equipment malfunction.
  5. Inattentive driversJust like typical vehicle drivers, distracted drivers can cause accidents and put lives in danger.
  6. Imbalanced trucks. Trucks run the risk of overturning when dumping material on the edge of dump locations when they are too heavy or the ground is unstable.

Safety solutions

You can never guarantee safety, but there are steps that you can take to minimize risks. Talk with your supervisor to learn more about mine safety and other precautions you can be taking.

  1. Ask for truck safety manuals to be added to all trucks.
  2. Report any problems with a truck’s performance and responsiveness.
  3. Always wear a seatbelt when inside a truck.
  4. Report mine safety violations immediately.
  5. Avoid driving in poorly lit conditions.
  6. Make sure that your truck is not carrying a load above the recommended weight limit.

Who is responsible for mine safety?

A number of people are responsible for keeping the mines safe. A few key groups include the mine operators, safety representatives, engineers, miners, state regulatory agencies, and MSHA.

Mining will always come with risks, and some safety issues are out of your control. If you are injured at work, consider contacting an attorney who can advise you on your rights, and help you gain compensation for injuries you suffered on the job.


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