11/20/2013 8:20 AM
CHARLESTON - A survey of the state's mines showed that only 4% of underground mining equipment had detectors that automatically shuts down mobile machinery when people get too close.
The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety, and Training conducted the survey back in August on 1,800 continuous mining machines, shuttle cars, roof bolters, scoops, and other mining equipment. It found 74 pieces of equipment had the proximity detection systems that can prevent miners from being crushed or pinned.
State Mine Safety Director Eugene White said he expected that number to increase as mine operators anticipate a federal rule that would require the devices.
The survey also said blind-spot cameras have been installed on 86 pieces of underground equipment.