On March 14, 2017, an independent owner/operator truck driver, walked behind his raised end-dump trailer, while dumping his load and was engulfed by sand.

Best Practices

  • Conduct pre-operational checks to identify any defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
  • Ensure workers who operate heavy equipment are adequately informed, instructed, trained and supervised.
  • Do not position yourself near a truck that is actively dumping, or near a truck while it is raising its bed.
  • Ensure that the tailgate is unlocked before elevating the cargo box to the dump position.
  • Do not attempt to dump the material if it sticks in the bed.  Stuck material can imbalance the load and affect the stability of the truck. Always deflate trailer air springs prior to raising the dump body.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Wednesday, March 30, 2017, at 2:09 am, a 33-year-old miner (auger operator/foreman) was fatally injured at a surface auger mine.  The miner was struck by a rock that fell from the bottom section of the highwall while changing worn cutter-head bits located at the front of the auger machine.  The rock was approximately 4 feet by 5 feet by 30 inches in size.

Best Practices

  • Follow the approved ground control plan at all times to ensure the safe control of highwalls.
  • Ensure that miners at all times work, travel, and operate mining systems/equipment at a safe distance from the toe of the highwall.
  • Position and reposition the auger machine canopy as needed to protect miners near the toe of a highwall from falling material.
  • Assign a spotter during maintenance or other activities to evaluate the ground conditions when miners are positioned near the toe of the highwall.
  • Miners should not work or position themselves between equipment and the highwall in such a manner that the equipment hinders escape from falls or slides.
  • Safely examine a highwall from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top) before work begins.  Use adequate lighting during non-daylight hours to conduct examinations and to illuminate work areas.
  • Conduct additional examinations as necessary, especially during periods of changing weather conditions.
  • Examine areas at the back of the top and the face of the highwall for hazards presented by cracks, sloughing, loose ground, and large rocks.
  • Observe and notify miners of highwall hazards immediately.  Remove highwall hazards or barricade hazardous areas to keep miners away.
  • Train all miners to recognize hazardous highwall conditions.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On February 27, 2017, a 43-year-old plant attendant, with approximately 13 years of experience, was fatally injured when he fell through a 27-inch opening in a plate press.  The victim had climbed a ladder to repair a damaged plate when he fell about 19 feet onto a moving refuse belt.  The victim was found in a transfer chute, approximately 55 feet down the belt from where he had fallen.

Best Practices

  • Provide and maintain safe access to all work areas.  Train miners on how to safely access all work areas.
  • Protect and guard all openings through which persons may fall.  Use fall protection, maintaining 100 % tie off, when fall hazards exist.  See Fall Prevention Safety Target Package.
  • Establish specific policies and procedures for the use of fall protection.
  • Ensure workers are trained in the use of fall protection.  Monitor work practices to ensure fall protection is being properly used.
  • Conduct a risk assessment of the work area prior to beginning any task and identify all possible hazards.  Use the SLAM: Stop, Look, Analyze, and Manage approach for work place safety.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On February 3, 2017, a 54-year-old truck driver received hip and leg fractures when he jumped from the cab of his truck as it was overturning.  The victim positioned the truck on the dump pad and began raising the bed.  Material in the bed was frozen or compacted and created an uneven load.  As the bed reached full extension, the truck fell over.  Due to complications associated with his injuries, the victim passed away 7 days later.

Best Practices

  • Stay in the cab when problems are encountered while operating the truck.  Do not jump.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment.
  • Establish safe work procedures for dumping a loaded truck and train all employees.
  • Use techniques to prevent material from freezing or sticking in truck beds.
  • After dumping, remove compacted material from the truck bed before more material is added.
  • Assure all loads are evenly distributed.
  • While dumping, use mirrors to see if the truck bed begins to lean and, if it does, immediately lower the bed.
  • Examine work areas and routinely monitor work habits to ensure that safe work procedures are followed.
  • Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On December 21, 2016, a 39-year old contract truck driver, with 11 months of mining experience, was injured on the surface of an underground gold mine. The victim was hauling gold ore in an over-the-road truck from the mine to the plant. While descending the roadway from the mine, the victim lost control of his truck. He traveled up an embankment and over an approximate 20 foot drop, landing back in the roadway. The victim was transported to the hospital and died from his injuries several days later.

Best Practices

  • Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment.  Never rely on engine brakes and transmission retarders as substitutes for keeping brakes properly maintained.
  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Examine haulage roads for hazardous conditions prior to permitting equipment access and especially when conditions change due to snow, ice, or water.
  • Communicate hazardous conditions to other persons using the haulage road. Ensure traffic rules, signals, and warning signs are posted and obeyed.
  • Keep roadways clear and safe for travel. Remove snow and ice which may cause loss of traction for equipment along roadways.
  • Train all employees on proper work procedures, hazard recognition and avoidance.
  • Know the truck’s capabilities, operating ranges, load-limits and properly maintain the brakes and other safety features.
  • Use chains for better traction while stopping or climbing on snow covered steep grades, consider the use of chains for better traction while stopping or climbing.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf).

On December 19, 2016, a 62-year old Front-end Loader Operator with 6 years of mining experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel surface mine. The victim was engulfed by sand when entered a hopper to remove a blockage.

Best Practices

  • Task train persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.
  • Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition, specifically when clearing blocked hoppers.
  • Ensure employees use proper housekeeping procedures in order to avoid extraneous trash from inadvertently entering feed hoppers.
  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing hoppers.
  • Equip hoppers with mechanical devices, grates/grizzlies or other effective means of handling material so persons are not required to work where they are exposed to entrapment by sliding material.
  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure that the discharge operating controls are deenergized and locked out and ensure that material cannot discharge when the feeder is not activated.
  • Wear a safety harness and lanyard, which is securely anchored and tended by another person, prior to entering bins, hoppers, tanks, or silos.

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

m14On September 15, 2016, a 60 year old Mechanic, with 28 years of experience, was fatally injured at a Magnesite facility. The victim was seriously injured when he fell while dismounting a front end loader. The victim was hospitalized and died on September 26, 2016.

Best Practices

  • Always use the “Three Points of Contact” method. Use either two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet when mounting and dismounting equipment.
  • Keep hands free of any objects when making three points of contact.
  • Maintain traction by ensuring footwear is free of potential hazards such as dirt, oil, and grease.  Slip resistant material can be coated to existing foot holds and handrails.
  • Use hoisting materials to transport tools and other objects that may keep hands from being free.
  • Inspect contact areas for slip or trip hazards.
  • Ensure steps and handrails are properly secured and free of defects and debris and always face equipment when mounting or dismounting it.
  • Ensure landing areas are equipped with adequate lighting.

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

m13-jpgOn September 21, 2016, a 52 year old contract drill operator / mechanic, with more than 30 years of experience, was killed at a limestone mine while performing maintenance on a truck-mounted rotary drill.  At the time of the accident, the victim was attempting to remove the spindle cap from the top of the drill head while standing on the drilling deck.  The victim was using a modified pipe wrench in an attempt to loosen the spindle cap using the machine’s drill rotation hydraulics by reaching into the operator’s compartment.  As the victim activated the drill rotation lever, the wrench swung and struck him.  The force of the impact knocked him against the operator’s cab, denting the frame and breaking the side window while the rotating wrench pierced his abdomen.  As the victim attempted to climb down an adjacent step ladder, he was observed falling to the ground and striking his head.  The victim was transported to a local hospital and died later that day as a result of his injuries.

Best Practices

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures to be used while performing maintenance on machinery.  Incorporate the manufacturer’s recommended operating procedures into related safety and task training programs.
  • Train all persons to recognize the potential hazards and understand safe work procedures to eliminate hazards before beginning work.
  • Ensure that machinery components are blocked against hazardous motion prior to performing maintenance or repairs.
  • Use appropriate equipment and hand tools for the job.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
  • Stay inside of the drill cab when operating the drill.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.

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

m12On September 8, 2016, a 58-year old Haul Truck Operator with 23 years of experience was killed at a granite mine.  The victim was operating a Caterpillar 773E haul truck and was returning to the pit to be loaded with shot rock. The truck veered from the right side of the haul road to the left and traveled over the berm at the top of the highwall.  The truck landed upside down approximately 150 feet below.  The victim was found outside the haul truck.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a seat belt when operating a haul truck or mobile equipment.
  • Conduct thorough, in depth task training to cover potential hazards.
  • Monitor employees regularly to ensure seat belts are worn when operating mobile equipment.
  • Emphasize that improperly worn seat belts can NOT provide the proper restraint to necessary to protect equipment operators in hazardous situations.
  • Conduct pre-operational checks to identify defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before being placed into service.
  • Observe all speed limits, traffic rules, and ensure that grades on haulage roads are appropriate for haulage equipment being used. Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
  • Provide and maintain adequate berms and other barriers of mid-axle height.
  • Perform safety inspections that include braking systems and seat belts before operating equipment; promptly remove equipment from service if defects affecting safety are found.

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

m11On August 9, 2016, a 33 year old Leadman Contractor, with 4 years of experience, was killed at a cement plant loadout.  The victim was attempting to replace the lift cable pulleys on the barge loadout chute, when the anchor point for the temporary rigging separated from the loadout chute and it unexpectedly fell. The falling loadout chute caused the lift cables to tighten and the lift cables pinned the victim to the loadout chute causing fatal injuries.

Best Practices

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and the methods to properly protect persons.  Consult and follow the manufacturer’s recommended safe work procedures for the maintenance task.
  • Task train all persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.
  • Examine work areas during the shift for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.  Monitor persons routinely to determine safe work procedures are followed.
  • Conduct a complete pre-operational inspection of equipment that includes checking winches and cables.
  • Position yourself in areas where you will not be exposed to hazards resulting from a sudden release of energy.  Be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that can move.

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