On June 24, 2010, a 29 year old continuous mining machine operator with 12 years experience received fatal injuries when he was caught between the right rib and the remote controlled continuous mining machine he was operating.

Best Practices
     

  • Install MSHA approved Proximity Detection Systems on continuous mining machines.
    http://www.msha.gov/Accident_Prevention/...
  • Avoid “Red Zone” areas associated with remote controlled continuous mining machines and other mobile equipment.
    http://www.msha.gov/webcasts/coal2004/REDZONE2.pdf
  • Ensure equipment is being operated safely, especially in low mining heights, and slippery and uneven floor conditions.
  • Maintain equipment in a safe operating condition.
  • Observe work practices and provide timely feedback.
  •  

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

On June 20, 2010, a 52 year-old mechanic with 8 years of experience was fatally injured at a surface copper operation. A ½ ton pickup truck had parked in front of a 240 ton haul truck that was also parked. The haul truck pulled forward and struck the pickup truck fatally injuring the driver and seriously injuring another miner.

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 work place 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 in these procedures.
  • Install cameras and collision avoidance systems on large trucks to protect persons.
  • Regularly monitor work practices and reinforce the importance of them. Take immediate action to correct unsafe conditions or work practices.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview(powerpoint), Overview(pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On June 18, 2010, a 29 year-old contract miner with 6 years of experience was fatally injured at an underground silver mine. The victim was scaling loose ground in a stope when he was struck by falling material approximately 3½ feet long by 2½ feet wide by 2 feet thick.

Best Practices

  • Examine, sound, and test for loose ground in areas before starting to work, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant.
  • Train all persons to scale loose material safely.
  • Communicate unsafe ground conditions to all affected miners.
  • Perform manual scaling from a location which will not expose persons to injury from falling material.
  • When manually scaling, use scaling bars of a length and design that will allow the removal of loose material without exposing persons to the risk of injury.
  • Install ground support where conditions warrant.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview (pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On Wednesday, June 16, 2010, a 42 year old Section Foreman with 17 years of mining experience was fatally injured. While he was installing rib support, a section of rib 12 feet wide x 15 feet 6 inches high x 9 feet thick fell, knocking over a roof jack that struck him.

Best Practices

  • Conduct roof evaluations when entering a previously mined area for the purpose of pillar recovery.
  • Support loose ribs or roof adequately or scale down material before beginning work.
  • Conduct thorough pre-shift examinations and on-shift examinations of the roof, face, and ribs immediately before work or travel is in an area and thereafter as conditions warrant.
  • Know and follow the approved roof control plan. Take additional measures to protect persons if unusual hazards are encountered.
  • Assure the roof control plan is suitable for prevailing geologic conditions. Revise the plan if conditions change and the support system is not adequate to control the roof, face, and ribs.
  • Be alert to changing geological conditions which may affect roof, rib, and face conditions.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On Tuesday, June 8, 2010, a 38-year old service truck operator with seven years of mining experience, was fatally injured while in the process of refueling a diesel track-mounted highwall drill. The operator was apparently placing the fuel nozzle into the diesel fuel tank when an ignition/explosion erupted into a fire, engulfing him in flames.

Best Practices

  • Open fuel tank cap slowly to relieve any pressure buildup.
  • Ensure that the refueling area is well ventilated, especially in low areas where heavy fuel vapors can accumulate.
  • Before refueling, turn off the engine(s) and motor(s) and eliminate other potential ignition sources.
  • Check hydraulic lines and connections, especially those near hot surfaces, prior to operating the vehicle. Perform maintenance or repairs when necessary.
  • Ensure that all affected persons are familiar with the Material Safety Data Sheets on fuels and lubricants in use.

Click here for: Spanish Fatalgram (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf)

On June 12, 2010, a 46-year-old contractor welder was fatally injured at a crushed stone operation. He was preparing to weld on an overhead ventilation duct. The victim was using a ladder to access the duct when he fell over a handrail approximately 45 feet to the ground.

Best Practices

  • Always use fall protection when working where a fall hazard exists.
  • Position ladders to ensure their stability and to eliminate trip hazards.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing or working from a ladder.
  • Do not lean to reach items while standing on a ladder.
  • Always maintain three points of contact with the ladder when climbing.
Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview(pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)


On May 28, 2010, a 59-year-old supervisor with 20 years of experience was fatally injured at an underground gold mine. The victim and another miner entered a blast area when a misfire detonated without warning. The other miner was injured and hospitalized.

Best Practices

  • Follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for the storage and usage of explosives.
  • Keep explosives storage areas clean, dry and orderly.
  • Properly rotate explosive stock to use oldest stock first.
  • Never use damaged/deteriorated/outdated explosives, initiation devices, or blasting agents.
  • Wait a minimum of the required times before entering the blast area when either a misfire and/or burning explosives are a possibility.

Click here for: MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview (pdf),  Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On May 26, 2010, a 28 year-old contract miner with 10 weeks of mining experience was fatally injured at an underground uranium mine. The victim was scaling a rib when he was struck by falling material approximately 11 feet high, 15 feet wide and 4 inches to 30 inches thick.

Best Practices

  • Always examine, sound and test for loose ground in areas before starting to work, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant.
  • Train all persons to scale loose material safely.
  • Always perform manual scaling from a safe location.
  • When manually scaling, use scaling bars of a length and design that allow the removal of loose material without exposing the persons performing the work.
  • Install ground support in ribs where conditions warrant.

Click here for: MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview (pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On May 24, 2010, a 61-year-old maintenance foreman with 32 years of experience was fatally injured at a crushed stone operation. The victim entered a vertical roller mill without locking out the electrical power switch. The mill was started with the victim in the mill.

Best Practices

  • Always follow established lock-out and tag-out procedures.
  • Never rely on others to place your lock on electrical power switches.
  • Always post warning notices at the power switches.
  • Never enter machinery without ensuring the energy source is locked out.
  • Always test to ensure power is off after locking out.
  • Maintain power switch lock out mechanisms to function properly.

Click here for: MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview (pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)

On May 14, 2010, a 35 year-old mechanic/welder with 4 years of experience was fatally injured at a cement operation. The victim was using an oxy- acetylene torch to cut a damaged drill steel to salvage the drill bit. The drill steel exploded causing metal fragments to strike the victim.

Best Practices

  • Always examine materials before applying heat, cutting or welding.
  • Never apply heat to materials without ensuring that flammables/combustibles/explosive materials are not present.
  • Always examine materials with hollow spaces or cavities to ensure gases can vent before applying heat.
  • Never apply heat to materials where pressure build up is possible.

Click here for: MSHA Investigation Report(pdf), Overview(powerpoint), Overview(pdf), Spanish Fatalgram (pdf)