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DOL News Release - 05-528-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-4676
Contact: Eryn Witcher
Phone: (202) 693-4676

Released Monday, March 28, 2005

New Compliance Assistance Products on Machine Guarding Now Available from MSHA
Inadequate Machine Guarding is Major Hazard in Mining Workplaces

ARLINGTON, Va. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today made available three new compliance assistance products -- an updated handbook and two new DVDs. The new resources will help the U.S. mining industry reduce hazards caused by improperly guarded moving machine parts on equipment in the mining workplace, a hazard that contributes to more than 100 industry injuries each year.

"Failure to properly guard equipment is the violation most frequently cited by MSHA inspectors. Proper guarding of mining equipment is one of the most important and obvious safety hazards to be addressed in the mining workplace," said David Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "These new products update MSHA's best suggestions and advice for properly guarding machinery. We hope they will help reduce and eliminate the injuries currently occurring due to improperly guarded equipment."

Equipment guards protect working miners from injury and death that can be caused by moving machinery parts. MSHA's analysis of reported guarding-related injuries shows that 38 percent of these injuries occur while equipment is running, and 50 percent occur during maintenance. At least 12 percent are attributed to hazards posed by handling the guard itself.

MSHA's new 33-page, updated handbook, "MSHA's Guide to Equipment Guarding", was produced to help mine operators with properly designing, installing and maintaining equipment guards. The publication gives examples of commonly used equipment guards and includes examples of improper guards as well as considerations and recommendations on usage.

A new DVD, "Equipment Guarding" (a 2-DVD set), produced in cooperation with more than three dozen mining operations and scores of mining industry associations and equipment manufacturers, focuses on reducing risk by improving equipment guarding. It discusses protection levels provided by various types of guards, as well as design and construction considerations of guards for many types of equipment.

Another new DVD, "Junkyard Guards," is a fast-paced and informative depiction of two teams of miners who solve equipment guarding problems by creatively using parts and materials commonly found on mine sites or recycled after use on mining equipment. The video was produced through a cooperative effort with two MSHA alliance partners-the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) and the Industrial Minerals Association-North America (IMA-NA).

The new products are available from MSHA's National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va., at 304-256-3257.