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Guidelines - Stockpile and Surgepile Precautions

  1. Feeder Locations Identification

    Where feeders are used to draw material from under a pile, physical indicators should be installed to show mobile equipment operators the exact location of these feeders. Maps showing relative location of feeders is not adequate for safety purposes.

    In addition to the location indicators, mobile equipment operators should be given a chart indicating a safe distance to keep from the center of the feeder, relative to the depth of the pile. This distance should be based on the angle of repose of the uncompacted coal.

    Some operators currently use indicators above feeders which are suspended from cables. This is a good solution, but other positive methods can be used.

  2. Identification of Operating Feeders

    It is important for the mobile equipment operators to know which feeders are operating and removing material from under the pile. Since these feeders may be remotely controlled, and/or automatically controlled, a system should be installed to give this indication.

    A panel of indicating lights or mechanical flags could be used. Verbal communication is not adequate for this purpose.

    This indication is only necessary when mobile equipment is operated on the pile. The system design should reflect the frequency of its use.

  3. Lighting

    Whenever mobile equipment is being used on stockpiles or surgepiles after dark, lighting should be provided both on the mobile equipment and from stationary sources to adequately illuminate the working area of the pile.

  4. Mobile Equipment Requirements

    Mobile equipment used on stockpiles and surgepiles should be equipped with a rollover protection system and all other safety features required by 30 CFR Part 77. In addition, when operating on piles a voice communication system should be installed on board for the operator to communicate with plant operators, supervisors or other persons, for the safety of the mobile equipment operator.

    If the stockpile or surgepile uses draw-down feeders or other devices which can cause voids in the pile, the mobile equipment should have a totally enclosed cab and one or more Self Contained Self Rescuer(s) (SCSR) should be stored in the cab. The number of SCSR's will be determined by realistic time estimate to recover the equipment operator if the equipment were drawn into a void and covered with coal, at the deepest part of the pile.

  5. Specific Communication Pattern

    The mobile equipment operator should be instructed and required to communicate with an assigned person on a regular time cycle to assure that others are aware of his condition. Failure to receive communication from the mobile equipment operator must be investigated immediately to determine if the equipment operator has had an accident.

    The time interval between communications should be regular and frequent, not to exceed 30 minutes.

    The communication should be verbal, preferably via the onboard communication system.

  6. Cross-Shift Reporting

    Written reports should be made by appropriate persons to indicate any abnormalities, hazards or dangers which are known to exist or suspected to exist on the stockpile. Abnormalities include, instabilities, voids, suspected voids, sloughing, etc.

    These reports should be available to any person who operates equipment on the pile and to any other persons connected with stockpiling and reclaiming operations.

    The exact method of compiling these reports will be a site specific plan designed for the particular operation.

  7. Task Training and Retraining

    Task training for mobile equipment operators working on stockpiles and surgepiles should not only cover the operation of the equipment, but also the safety concerns stated in these recommendations, including, but not limited to:

    1. Feeder locators and indicators
    2. How to use the angle of repose charts
    3. Communication requirements

    Task training should also include instruction to assume that cavities exist above feeders and to avoid operating over them.

    Task training should include training on use of the SCSR, with a donning requirement.

    Emergency procedures should be part of the training and include:

    1. Communicate if possible
    2. Stay in the cab after an accident until instructed by rescuers to leave
    3. Shut-off the equipment's engine
    4. Don the SCSR if the cab is covered by material

    Training should be given to equipment operators which will help him to identify hazards, such as indication of instabilities, the causes of voids, and safe approach to unstable areas.

    Task training for plant operators or others who may contro1 the draw-down feeders should also reflect the stockpile safety recommendations as it applies to his participation.

  8. Rescue and Recovery Plan

    Each operation which employs mobile equipment on stockpiles and surgepiles should have a plan in case an accident occurs. It is impractical to predict all possibilities and have a specific plan for each scenario, but a plan should be made to include:

    1. Person(s) responsible and in charge of recovery activity
    2. Location and availaDility or necessary equipment, whether or not the equipment is "on site" or from "off site" sources, and the time to acquire the equipment "on site".
    3. List all prohibited activity such as walking on the pile, etc.
    4. List of equipment necessary for "recovery of:
      1. Equipment which has rolled over
      2. Equipment drawn into a void and is:
        1. Uncovered
        2. Partially covered
        3. Totally covered

    The rescue and recovery plan will by necessity be site specific and formulated by the coal operator for his particular operation.