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)

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)

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).

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), Final Report (pdf).

Two mining deaths within 24 hours in which the victims were working alone and in restricted areas where there were hazardous conditions highlights the need to observe best practices to avoid hazardous areas and avoid working alone, among other tips. Both were in underground mines, one coal and one limestone.

Download Alert (pdf) here.

On October 9, 2016, a 61 year old Equipment Operator, with 3 years of experience, was fatally injured at a sand surface mine. The victim was attempting to attach a screen plant to a front-end loader by hooking them together with a steel cable when the equipment moved pinning the victim. The victim was later discovered injured and leaning against the loader bucket. The victim died of his injuries the following day.

Best Practices

  • Never position yourself between mobile equipment and a stationary object. Always be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that have the ability to move.
  • Ensure that line of sight, background noise, or other conditions do not interfere with communication.
  • Ensure miners are adequately trained for the task they are performing.
  • Use a tow bar with adequate length and proper rating when towing heavy equipment.
  • Make yourself more visible by wearing brightly-colored clothing or clothing that is distinguishable from surroundings.
  • Operate all machinery in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating guidelines.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), The investigation will not be posted.