On December 30, 2017, an employee in a pickup truck approached the quarry loadout area to get the Front End Loader (FEL) operator for lunch. The FEL backed into the pickup, pushing it sideways and crushing the driver’s side of the pickup cab, trapping the victim inside the truck. The pickup truck caught fire and efforts by the FEL operator and a nearby contractor to put the fire out using fire extinguishers were not successful.

Best Practices

  • When approaching large mobile equipment, do not proceed until you communicate and verify with the equipment operator your planned movement and location.  Provide radio communication systems between vehicles and large mobile equipment.
  • Ensure all persons are trained to recognize workplace hazards – specifically, the limited visibility and blind areas inherent to operation of large equipment and the hazard of mobile equipment traveling near them.
  • Ensure, by signal or other means, that all persons are clear before moving equipment.
  • Minimize situations where smaller vehicles need to approach large front end loaders.
  • Do not drive or park smaller vehicles in mobile equipment’s potential path of movement.
  • Equip smaller vehicles with flags or strobe lights positioned high enough to be seen from the cabs of haulage trucks.
  • Install and maintain proximity detection or collision avoidance/warning systems and cameras.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On October 31, 2017, a 340-ton haul truck ran over a passenger van carrying nine miners. The driver of the van and the miner in the front seat were fatally injured. Of the remaining seven miners, one suffered a non-life threatening injury.

Best Practices

  • When approaching large mobile equipment, do not proceed until you communicate and verify with the equipment operator your planned movement and location.  Provide radio communication systems between vehicles and large mobile equipment.
  • Ensure, by signal or other means, that all persons are clear before moving equipment.
  • Minimize situations where smaller vehicles need to approach large haul trucks (e.g., arrange for haul truck drivers to have supplies available at the pre-shift meeting place, rather than delivering supplies to the truck).
  • Do not drive or park smaller vehicles in a large truck’s potential path of movement.
  • Equip smaller vehicles with flags or strobe lights positioned high enough to be seen from the cabs of haulage trucks.
  • Install and maintain proximity detection or collision avoidance/warning systems and cameras.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Friday, December 29, 2017, at approximately 12:57 a.m., a 34-year-old bulldozer operator with 10 years of mining experience was fatally injured.  While pushing overburden toward the edge of a highwall, the bulldozer he was operating travelled over the edge, down an embankment, and came to rest approximately 400 feet from where it went over the highwall.

Best Practices

  • Ensure the bulldozer blade is kept between you and the edge when operating close to drop offs.  Dump loads short of the highwall edge and push one load into another to maintain a safe distance from the edge.
  •  Inspect the area before beginning work and remain familiar with the environment throughout the shift.  Plan the safest way to move material and maneuver equipment.
  • Reduce the throttle position when working near the edge of a highwall.
  • Properly illuminate work areas and dump sites.
  • Perform complete and thorough examinations of ground conditions.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment.  Monitor work activities routinely to ensure seatbelts are worn and safe work procedures are followed.
  • Ensure miners are trained, including task-training, to understand, recognize and avoid hazards associated with the work being performed.
  • Conduct pre-operational examinations to identify any safety defects.  Correct safety defects prior to placing equipment into service.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On October 17, 2017, a miner was fatally injured while operating a bulldozer on a downward slope. While pushing overburden to a rock bench below the top of the pit, he was ejected from the cab and run over by the left track. The machine continued to tram over the edge of the 58′ highwall.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment.
  • Never jump from moving mobile equipment.
  • Ensure that persons are trained, including task-training, to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
  • Block the dozer against motion by setting the parking brake and lowering the blade to the ground before dismounting equipment.  Set the transmission lock lever to ensure the transmission is in neutral.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
  • Maintain control of mobile equipment while it is in motion.
  • Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment. Do not depend on hydraulic systems to hold mobile equipment stationary.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On September 20, 2017, a contractor was fatally injured while rappelling within a conditioning tower.  The victim was examining the inside of a 300’ vertical conditioning tower when an object fell from above and struck him in the head. The victim was conscious and transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries the next day.

Best Practices

  • Remove all loose materials and other hazards before working.
  • Have fall protection and available and ready for use.
  • Check bin atmosphere for oxygen content, combustible gases, and toxic contaminants.
  • Provide adequate lighting.
  • Be sure the person entering the bin is trained in safe entry and confined space procedures.
  • Have standby personnel available to observe and to assist in an emergency.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Monday, October 23, 2017, a 48-year-old mine examiner with 19 years of mining experience, received fatal injuries after he fell on the No. 1 conveyor belt near the transfer point with the No. 2 conveyor belt and was transported by the belt conveyor system to the raw coal pile. It appears he was attempting to cross the No. 1 conveyor belt at the time of the accident.

Best Practices

  • Never attempt to cross a moving conveyor belt, except at suitable crossing facilities.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working on or traveling around moving conveyor belts.
  • Provide conveyor belt stop and start controls at areas where miners must access both sides of the belt.
  • Install practical and usable belt crossing facilities at strategic locations, including near controls, when height allows.
  • Install pull cords to disconnect power to the conveyor belt at strategic locations along the conveyor belt.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, a 39-year-old miner with ten years of mining experience received fatal injuries when coal from the longwall face rolled out and completely covered him. The victim was assisting with roof bolting by untangling the mesh during the longwall recovery process. At the time of the accident, the victim was located between the coal face and the pan line.

Best Practices

  • DO NOT ENTER the panline, or any immediate work area, unless the roof and longwall face have been made safe. This includes reducing exposure by minimizing the distance from the face to the tips of the shield.
  • Scale roof, face, and ribs with a bar of suitable length and design or other safe means.
  • Ensure miners are trained on the minimum requirements of the approved roof control plan.
  • Conduct thorough and more frequent examinations of the roof, face, and ribs when miners work or travel close to the longwall face, and continuously monitor for changing conditions
  • Before beginning a longwall recovery, ensure miners are trained to recognize the hazards associated with the recovery area.
  • Be aware of and correct potential hazards when working or traveling near mine ribs, especially when conditions exist that could cause roof or rib disturbance.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On September 5, 2017, a 20-year old plant operator with 23 weeks of experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel mine. The victim was performing maintenance on a belt conveyor when he became entangled in the tail pulley.

Best Practices

  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
  • Before beginning any work, ensure that persons assigned to work on belt conveyors are task trained and understand the hazards associated with the work to be performed.
  • Do not perform work on a belt conveyor until the power is off, locked, and tagged, and machinery components are blocked against motion.
  • Never clean pulleys or idlers manually while belt conveyors are operating.
  • Identify hazards around belt conveyor systems, design guarding, and securely install the guarding to ensure miners do not contact moving machine parts.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), Final Report (pdf).

On July 27, 2017, a miner was fatally injured when his light-duty truck was run over by a haul truck. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Best Practices

  •  Do not park smaller vehicles in a large truck’s potential path of movement.• Before moving mobile equipment, be certain no one is in the intended path; sound the horn to warn possible unseen persons; and wait to give them time to move to a safe location.
  • Ensure all persons are trained to recognize workplace hazards – specifically, the limited visibility and blind areas inherent to operation of large equipment and the hazard of mobile equipment traveling near them.
  • Establish procedures that require smaller vehicles to maintain a safe distance from large mobile equipment until eye contact is made or approval to move closer is obtained from the mobile equipment operator. Provide training on these procedures.
  • Install cameras and collision avoidance systems on large trucks to protect persons.
  • Regularly monitor work practices and reinforce their importance. Take immediate action to correct unsafe conditions or work practices.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Friday, August 25, 2017, a 51-year-old mine examiner with 27 years of mining experience was killed when, near the transfer point with the No. 2 conveyor belt, he apparently lost his footing attempting to cross over the moving No. 1 conveyor belt. He fell onto the No. 1 belt and hit a belt crossover located approximately 10 feet outby. The victim was found beside the conveyor belt just outside the mine entrance.

Best Practices

  • Never attempt to cross a moving conveyor belt except at suitable crossing facilities.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working on or traveling around moving conveyor belts.
  • Provide conveyor belt stop and start controls at areas where miners must access both sides of the belt.
  • Install practical and usable belt crossing facilities at strategic locations, including near controls, when height allows.
  • Install pull cords and switches that control power to the belt along the wide side of the length of the conveyor belt to stop the belt in emergencies.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), Final Report (pdf).