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 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)

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 July 20, 2017, a miner was driving wedges into a block of granite in an attempt to break it loose.  A piece of granite weighing 9 tons fell and crushed the victim against the quarry floor.

Best Practices

  • Always conduct examinations of work place to identify loose ground or unstable conditions before work begins and as changing ground conditions warrant.
  • Ensure that the person conducting the examination has the training and experience to recognize potential hazards.
  • Danger off hazardous conditions and prohibit work or travel in areas where hazards from unstable ground have not been corrected.
  • Discuss work procedures and identify all hazards associated with the work to be performed along with the methods to protect personnel.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On July 14, 2017, a part time mine employee was moving irrigation pipe by hand and was electrocuted when the pipe came in contact with high voltage transmission lines overhead.

Best Practices

  • Before work begins, conduct a hazard assessment and examine the work area to identify and correct hazards and ensure safe distances to overhead power lines.
  • Contact the electrical utility to determine the operating voltage of the line and confirm the safe limits of approach distances.
  • Do not use electrically conductive tools or materials in situations where they may contact overhead power lines.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On June 8, 2017, a truck driver was operating a Caterpillar 777F haul truck, dumping a load of gravel, when the ground at the dump point collapsed.   The truck went over the edge of the dump point, overturning and landing on its roof approximately 30 feet below. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Best Practices

  • Ensure seat belts are provided, maintained, and worn at all times when equipment is in operation.
  • Incorporate engineering controls that require seat belts to be properly fastened before equipment can be put into motion.
  • Visually inspect dumping locations prior to beginning work and as changing conditions change.
  • While loading out stockpiles, do not excavate the toe of the slopes below dumping points and travelways.
  • Utilize a bulldozer with the “dump-short, push-over” method of stockpiling material.
  • Provide and maintain adequate berms on the banks of roadways and at dumping points where a drop-off exists.
  • Train miners to recognize and avoid dumping point hazards and to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.

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

On March 24, 2017, the victim exited his personal flatbed truck, which was left running in 6th gear, to turn off the genset (diesel generator). Prior to ascending the steps to the diesel generator, it appears the flatbed truck moved forward and pinned him against the genset trailer. The victim was found on Monday, March 27, 2017, and pronounced dead at the scene.

Best Practices

  • Place the transmission in park and set the park brake before exiting vehicle.
  • Do not depend on hydraulic systems to hold mobile equipment in a stationary position.
  • Always chock the wheels when parking vehicles on a grade.
  • Never place yourself in front of an unsecured piece of mobile equipment

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

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), Final Report (pdf).

On January 25, 2017, a miner was found in an underground limestone mine after failing to exit the mine at the end of the shift.  The miner was located under material that had fallen from the rib in an area of the mine that had been barricaded to prevent entry due to bad roof and rib conditions.

Best Practices

  • Install barriers to impede unauthorized entry into areas where unattended hazardous ground conditions exist.
  • Establish procedures to account for miners in all areas of the mine – surface, underground, shops, and facilities – across and at the end of shifts.
  • Do not cross barriers that are intended to prevent access to dangered-off areas of underground mines.
  • Train miners to recognize potentially hazardous ground conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards.
  • Never enter hazardous areas that have been dangered-off or otherwise identified to prohibit entry.
  • Develop and train miners on a method that clearly alerts miners not to enter hazardous areas.
  • If possible, do not work alone. If working alone, communicate intended movements to a responsible person.

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