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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Miner's Tip

Falling Material Hazards

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Surface
Category: Highwalls
Tips Drawing

Fatalities have occurred when individuals operating equipment near a highwall were struck with material from the highwall. Recently, an individual operating an excavator was killed when a rock smashed through the roof of the cab. Equipment cabs are not designed to protect against the extreme forces generated by large rocks falling from highwalls but, they may create a false sense of security. Don't let this false sense of protection lure you into putting your guard down.

When operating equipment near the base of a highwall:

When performing maintenance, always have the equipment positioned as far away as possible from the falling material danger zone.

Just because you are inside a cab don't think you are protected from rocks that could fall a highwall. Several accidents have occurred where rocks have crushed through cabs and fatally injured operators.

If you have a tip you would like to pass on, you can e-mail it to If your Miner's tip is selected, you will receive credit in this space.

Reissued: 8/19/2002 
Tag # AP2002-M040