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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Safety Idea

Distraction to Disaster in One Step

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines
Category: Communication, General Safety

Distraction to Disaster in One Step At a construction site in New Zealand, while directing a dump truck back to a dumping point, a spotter looked away to make sure no other traffic was approaching. While looking left and right, he motioned the truck back. The truck driver watched the spotter for hand signals while he backed the truck to the dumping area. Unseen by either, an engineer walked toward the dump point when his cell phone rang. The distracted engineer did not notice the truck as he talked on the cell phone. Even the sound of the back-up alarm didn't register with him as he walked directly into the path of the reversing truck. For some reason, the engineer stopped walking and stood with his back to the truck. He was knocked to the ground and the rear wheels snagged the back of his leg and pulled him under the truck, where he suffered fatal injuries.

  1. Establish and enforce safe work procedures for working around mobile equipment, including the following:
    1. Designate areas where use of cell phones and other communication devices are prohibited unless the communication is necessary to perform the work.

    2. Require high visibility apparel be worn when out of vehicles

    3. Train all miners to make eye contact with equipment operators or spotters when entering mobile equipment work zones
  2. Remind spotters or signalers to maintain continuous visual contact with mobile equipment operators.

  3. If practicable, ensure that mobile equipment backup alarms are audible above ambient noise levels.

  4. If practicable, establish designated pedestrian routes through worksites and use signs to indicate them.

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Issued: 04/21/2009
Tag # AP0096083