A meeting between the AEM Construction Equipment Standards and Regulations Committee (CESRC) and Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) Assistant Secretary David Zatezalo shed light on the significant process being made to improve mine safety and enforce regulations in a fair and consistent manner.

The meeting -- which included MSHA senior staff -- was held in conjunction with the spring gathering of the CESRC in Arlington, Virginia in June. 

While this progress is notable, Secretary Zatezalo pointed out that the mission is not complete. Furthermore, he used the opportunity to emphasize two areas of concern he has directed his agency to focus on, and both impact AEM member’s equipment:

  • Seat restraint usage
  • Collision avoidance

While MSHA does not do any basic research in its mission of enforcement, education and engineering, the agency is a strong proponent of technological innovation and the use of technology to, in Secretary Zatezalo’s words, “build a better mouse trap.”

During the meeting, Secretary Zatezalo suggested the use of technology to advance both of these topics while recognizing advances become more and more difficult as the incidences become fewer. In this context, he suggested that technical innovation may be the key to further advances.

Later that same week, MSHA staff, including Secretary Zatezalo, hosted AEM members at the MSHA Triadelphia Engineering Center for a more in-depth discussion of the technologies available and their potential to impact accident rates. During the meeting, MSHA staff presented an overview of a number of accidents and facilitated discussions including common causal factors. Further discussions focused on encouraging seat belt use and on collision warning/avoidance systems. Emphasis was placed on technical solutions to minimize risks and encourage equipment operators to use safe practices while operating equipment.

For more information, contact AEM Senior Director of Technical and Safety Services Mike Pankonin (mpankonin@aem.org, tel: 414-298-4128).

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