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

Mark Buried Utility Lines

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Surface
Category: General Safety

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Recently a fatal mining accident occurred when a 992D Caterpillar Wheel Loader operator was in the process of removing rock binder material above a coal seam in preparation for removal of the coal. The loader bucket penetrated a buried 20-inch diameter, high pressure, public utility natural gas transmission line. The loader became engulfed in flames resulting in serious and ultimately fatal burns to the loader operator.

Based on the accident investigation it was determined that the utility company line markers may not have provided adequate location information for the miner while working in the vicinity of the underground utility line. Each curvature in a transmission line may not have been adequately identified by line markers to alert the mine operator of the exact location in an active mining area.

Therefore, the following precautions are recommended to minimize the potential for additional accidents involving accidental contact with underground utility lines:

Reissued: 01/24/2005
Tag # AP2002-S032