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)