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

Fire Suppression Systems

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines
Category: Fire Safety

Recently a miner was seriously burned when the equipment he was operating caught fire. The operator hit the manual fire suppression actuator, but did not pull the pin. Thus, it did not actuate. There was no fire extinguisher in the cab and the operator was burned when he tried to get out by the normal egress route. He finally managed to get out on the opposite side.

The following suggestions may help avoid this situation:

  • Training on fire suppression systems should be given to operators of trucks, bulldozers and other enclosed cab vehicles. A manual fire suppression actuator should be used as a training tool in this effort, if it is utilized. Special emphasis should be placed on activating the system in realistic conditions. Photo of rotational scheme

  • All fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems including alarms, shutdowns and other associated equipment need to be thoroughly examined and periodically checked for proper operation by competent personnel in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended schedule. Any defective equipment needs to be repaired, replaced, and the system retested for proper operation. The manufacturer should be asked for their recommended maintenance schedules.

  • A small fire extinguisher commensurate with the level of hazard should be located in the cab of all vehicles to be readily accessible to the operator. The fire extinguisher should be a Type ABC.
Proper training and maintenance of fire suppression systems can reduce injuries and fatalities.

Reissued: 04/30/2002
Tag # AP2002-S015