MSHA Safety Hazard Alert – Plastic Pipes

Updated on March 3, 2016 by Sales Team

MSHA Safety Hazard Alert - Lifting Pipes

MSHA Safety Hazard Alert

Late yesterday afternoon Neal Merrifield distributed yet another MSHA Safety Hazard Alert. He begins:

Since 2008, six persons have died at metal and nonmetal mines in accidents involving large diameter plastic pipe.  Two delivery truck drivers were killed while their flatbed trucks were being unloaded at the mine.  In both cases, an unsecured section of pipe rolled from atop the truck’s load of pipe, fell and struck the driver as he stood nearby.  Two pipe crew supervisors, one a contractor, died while connecting sections of pipe using excavators and lifting straps to support and position the pipes.  One died when the pipe slipped out of the strap and struck him; the other was killed when the pipe sprung out of the positioning cradle and struck him.  A pipe foreman and a contract laborer were killed when they were struck or crushed by the pipe while assisting excavators re-position long sections of pipe using lifting straps.

Again, MSHA mentions their increased use of walk and talks, however this time without a veiled threat:

MSHA plans again this month to continue walk and talks at mine sites and enlist the assistance of mines, miners and mining industry groups in the effort to raise safety consciousness, stay safety-vigilant 24/7 and send miners home every day at the end of their shift.


That’s a sentiment we can all get behind. Though there were too many tragic deaths last year, 2015 was overall the safest year ever for the mining industry.


The alert also included some practical information.


MSHA standards require that materials not be stacked in a manner that creates a fall-of-material hazard, that taglines be attached to loads that may require guidance or steadying while suspended, and that hitches and that slings used to hoist materials be suitable for the particular material handled. 


MSHA Safety Hazard Fatalgram Plastic Pipe



Our Recommended Best Practices – Lifting and Handling Plastic Pipes


Here are some best practices for lifting large objects of any kind with a few specific to plastic pipes:

  • Task train all persons prior to performing work.
  • Secure loads on trucks, forklifts and cranes.
  • Establish and discuss safe procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards with the work to be performed along with the methods to properly protect persons.
  • Ground personnel should be highly visible. Unauthorized persons should be kept clear of the area. Examine work areas during the shift for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Verify slings are in good condition and securely attached before beginning a lift.
  • Stand clear of items of massive weights having the potential of becoming off-balanced while being loaded or unloaded.
  • Use taglines of sufficient length to adequately protect persons.
  • Keep pipes as straight as feasible to avoid any spring-like motion.
  • Evaluate the stability of the material before unfastening a load. Pay particular attention to loads that may have shifted or become unstable during transport.
  • To prevent pipes from falling when the load is unfastened, secondary supports (such as side stakes) may need to be installed before the load.
  • Unload materials on level ground and in a safe, controlled manner.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.


For more detailed information you can consult this post from North American Pipe Co.

A number of MSHA safety hazard alerts have been issued to open 2016. Now is the perfect time to conduct a thorough examination of your operation and equipment. Ensure everything is MSHA compliant and in working order before operations ramp up in the spring.


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