MSHA

On January 23, 2007, AEM and the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) joined forces in an alliance intended to promote safety in the mining industry. The Alliance agreement was renewed by AEM’s President, Dennis Slater, and MSHA’s Assistant Secretary, Mr. Joseph Main on July 14, 2011 and subsequently renewed on September 15, 2015. The ongoing AEM/MSHA Alliance focuses on topics that promote safe use of mobile equipment including the proper use of operator restraints while using mobile equipment. This has paved the way for publishing of a white paper concerning "Seat Belt Use on Mobile Equipment."

The AEM/MSHA Alliance has the following content available for free downloads:

  • Seat Belt Use on Mobile Equipment. This white paper provides guidance to a variety of stakeholders on best practices and methods to achieve higher levels of seat belt usage on mobile equipment.
  • Buckle Up...For Life. This presentation is intended to provoke thought and promote the use of seat belts and operator restraints on equipment having ROPS structures.
  • Seat Belts: The Basics of Safety. Seat belt usage is the most basic of all safety habits. Regardless of the equipment, the job duration, or the terrain where you are operating, if the equipment is supplied with a seat belt, USE IT.

The MSHA website provides a variety of useful materials to the public, which are available free of charge.

OSHA

The AEM/OSHA Alliance was formed on October 1, 2007 to promote job site safety. This alliance joined the technical expertise of the manufacturers with the communication and administrative expertise of OSHA. The AEM/OSHA Alliance was initially focused on the safe operation of rough-terrain forklifts and while the formal alliance concluded in 2015, AEM continues to work closely with OSHA and continues to provide safety materials developed by the alliance work group.

The AEM-OSHA Alliance work group has developed a number of documents including:

  • "Preventing Rough-Terrain Forklift Accidents" Best Practices Bulletin. Providing general safety guidelines on the operation of Rough-Terrain Forklift accidents. English, Portuguese, Spanish.
  • "To See: Preventing Rough-Terrain Forklift Accidents." Know the work area hazards, know the machine, and be aware of changing conditions including traffic patterns. English, Portuguese, Spanish.
  • "Personnel Work Platform" Best Practices Bulletin. Providing general safety guidelines on the operation of Rough Terrain Forklifts equipped with a personnel work platform. English.
  • "See and Be Seen" Best Practices Bulletin. Preventing job site accidents by making workers more aware of the job site and equipment around them. English.
  • Employer-Certified Operators Only Decal. Free pdf download, or decal.
  • Designated/Certified Operators Only Decal. Free pdf download, or decal.
Safety Standards

The Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF) develops and maintains several safety standards for rough-terrain forklifts. These standards are available as free downloads at the ITSDF website.

OSHA encourages companies to visit their website to learn more about the OSHA Challenge, and download up to five informative publications, free of charge.

Myth 1
“Depths of utilities can be assumed.”

Locator depths are approximate. Depths of utilities absolutely cannot be assumed. Even within distances less than a city block, a utility may dip or rise in depth. The surface grade often changes, sometimes dramatically, since utilities were originally installed. Utilities are often installed before excavation, fill and development happen that can change the surface grade dramatically. Utilities must be exposed to verify location and depth.


Myth 2
“It will never happen to me.”

That’s what every contractor or operator thinks, but utility strikes happen every day. Cutting corners and rushing to get the job done, thinking “I’ve done it a million times and nothing has happened,” getting lazy or complacent on the job… all of these can lead to major consequences. You have an important job to get utilities in the ground, safely and effectively. The risk is too great to depend on chance.


Myth 3
“Exposing to the depth of the utility is good enough.”

Exposing just to the depth of the existing utility is not proper practice and may violate OSHA regulations. You need to verify that no utilities are hiding underneath and always expose to the depth of the intended bore path. Visually observe the drill head as it passes the utility, and again during each pass of the reamer. The reamer can shift in the bore during pullback and strike a utility that appeared to have plenty of clearance.


Myth 4
"Just drill deeper to avoid existing utilities.”

Drilling deep creates problems such as locating and exposing for current and future excavation. At approximately 10’, locators become less accurate with locating the underground infrastructure. If the existing utility goes undetected, an underground strike can occur. Also, best practices dictate that the existing utility being crossed be exposed to the depth of the intended bore. That is difficult for deeper bores and if the line at that depth is ever damaged, the utility will have to dig deeper requiring a longer response time and greater expense.


Myth 5
“Sewer lines don’t need to be or cannot be located.”

If a sewer line is breached during a utility install, the sewer will eventually clog due to the intersection of the newly installed utility. To relieve the clog, a plumber will run a snake into the sewer and damage the line. If it is an electric line, the plumber can be electrocuted. If it is a gas line, the gas will migrate into the sewer and ignite once inside homes or businesses.

Several methods exist for locating sewage lines. Technologies like ground penetrating radar make it easier to locate lines and inspection camera systems are used to verify the lines were not breached.


Myth 6
“No locate marks = no utilities.”

If there are no marks, this could mean that it was not yet located. Many states have a positive response system so that it can be verified that all utilities have cleared the area. 

On-site, privately installed lines may not be recorded by the utility companies or located by the locating service. Inspect the area for evidence of underground activity, disturbed and repaired soil or pavement, utility boxes, conduit coming out of the ground, etc.


Myth 7
“My responsibility for damage prevention ends when I call 811. If something happens, 811 is liable.”

811 does not locate utilities. They coordinate with the utilities and their contracted locating services to have the area located. It is the responsibility of the excavator to verify that locates have been completed and are correct. This includes contacting utilities that don’t subscribe to 811, looking in the area for signs of utilities (outbuildings, pipeline markers, light poles, utility boxes, meters, etc.) and exposing the utilities to verify the locates. If an excavator damages a line, there are always costs to bear and effects on reputation.


Myth 8
“Exposing utilities (potholing) is included as part of the contract price for the drilling.”

This shouldn’t be assumed. To ensure potholing activity is included and is not shorted, it is recommended to separate this activity from the drilling in the quote. The project owner and contractor should work together to emphasize this as an important and integral part of the job.


Myth 9
"We have to accept whatever the caller gives us.”

When a contractor calls the Call Center or Utility, both parties have to be explicit and detailed with the information provided so an accurate and safe locates can be made.


Myth 10
“Electric strike alert systems can predict an electric strike.”

In some cases, the system may activate in the proximity of an energized line, but it cannot be relied upon to detect the line before a strike happens.  If the electric strike system activates, always assume an electric strike has occurred.  

Some strike systems detect a strike using only voltage detection via a voltage limiter. The voltage limiter is located away from the machine on a ground stake and detects the voltage difference between the ground stake and the drilling machine.

Other strike systems use both voltage and current detection. In addition to a voltage limiter, a current coil detects current flowing through the drill string.  The system will only activate the alarm when voltage, current, or a combination of both voltage and current is above threshold limits.  

For either system, if the alarm sounds, assume a strike has occurred. 

Other strike systems use both voltage and current detection. In addition to a voltage limiter, a current coil detects current flowing through the drill string.  The system will only activate the alarm when voltage, current, or a combination of both voltage and current is above threshold limits.  

For either system, if the alarm sounds, assume a strike has occurred.


Manufacturer's Role
Manufacturer

• Well-built machines designed to meet or exceed industry standards
• Operators Manual
• Training
• Proper jobsite checklists, guidelines, best practices
• Understand customers’ needs on different jobsites


Dealer's Role
Dealer

• Introduction to machine
• Pre-delivery of machine
• Training
• Inspections
• Maintenance
• Repairs
• Proper jobsite checklists, guidelines, best practices


Contractor's Role
Contractor

• Qualified Operator/Sub-Contractor
• Introduction to machine
• Pre-delivery of machine
• Training of crew and employees
• Inspections
• Maintenance
• Proper jobsite checklists, guidelines, best practices
• Quoting jobs to include plenty of time for utility verification
• Ensuring best practices are followed on jobsite


Operator's Role
Operator

• Qualifications, Experience, Competency
• Pre-delivery of machine
• Training
• Inspections
• Maintenance
• Repairs
• Jobsite preparation and hazard analysis
• Refuse to use improper procedures
• Operate the machine in accordance with the operator’s manual
• Be aware of jobsite personnel and activities
• Follow best practices on the jobsite


Utility's Role
Utility

• Locate utilities
• Mark utilities
• Maintain a diagram of utilities
• Expect quotes to include plenty of time for utility verification
• Assist operators with avoiding the utility
• Participate in 811 service
• Ensure contractors are following best practices


 811 Call Center's Role
811 Call Center

• Help callers make sure they are providing accurate and complete information
• Educate callers on the overall One Call process (wait 48 hours, not all services may be located at the same time by the same company)


Utility Locating Service's Role
Utility Locating Service

• Communicate with contractor/operator about planned job
• Mark accurate and complete information
• Provide a positive response that locate was completed, even if no utilities were present


Municipality's Role
Municipality

• Locate utilities
• Mark utilities
• Maintain a diagram of utilities
• Program for providing “positive response” information from locators


Government's Role
Government

• Standards
• Regulations
• Enforcement
• Education on standards and regulations


General Public's Role
General Public

• Awareness
• Reporting observed or suspected damage
• Enjoy the use and benefits responsibly


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