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).

c08On Friday, September 23, 2016, a 46-year-old miner was fatally injured in a vehicle accident that occurred along a portion of a mine’s access/haul road. The victim (passenger) and a coworker (driver) were traveling down an inclined portion of the road when the driver apparently lost control of the pickup truck, causing it to strike the road berm and roll over in the roadway.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a seat belt when operating mobile equipment, including personal trucks and automobiles.
  • Operate vehicles and equipment at safe speeds, maintain control at all times, and adjust speed for the prevailing conditions (road grade, visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Avoid using hand-held cell phones or texting while operating any mobile equipment.
  • Ensure that traffic rules, speed limits, and warning signs are posted in visible locations along the roadway.  Ensure the rules are obeyed.
  • Ensure that access roads on mine property used by miners in personal vehicles are maintained and are free of hazards.
  • Provide proper training to all employees on roadway hazards.
  • Maintain steering and braking systems in good repair and adjustment.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

c07On Friday, July 29, 2016, a 58-year-old miner with 40 years of mining experience sustained fatal injuries when an ignition occurred in the shaft he and another miner were working above.  Two miners were welding threaded blocks to secure guarding around the drive-shaft between a motor and dewatering pump.  Methane ignited within the shaft, and the victim was in the direct line of the ignition force.  On August 4, 2016, the victim died from the injuries received during the accident.

Best Practices

  • Do not weld, cut, or solder with an arc or flame where methane is detected in excess of 1% by volume.  Provide supplemental ventilation in work areas where methane may be encountered.
  • Conduct proper examinations for methane immediately before and periodically during welding, cutting, or soldering, especially in areas likely to contain methane.  Perform examinations with properly calibrated methane detectors that are capable of detecting concentrations greater than 5%.
  • Ensure smoldering metal or sparks from welding, cutting, or soldering do not result in the ignition of combustible materials or methane.  Install non-combustible barriers below welding, cutting, or soldering operations in or over a shaft.
  • Provide adequate training on the characteristics of mine gases and in the use of handheld gas detectors, including the use of extendable probes or pumps.
  • Always use non-sparking tools when working where there is a potential for flammable or explosive methane concentrations and, when practicable, utilize options which do not involve welding or cutting when working near these areas.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

c06On Monday, May 16, 2016, a 50-year-old motorman, with over 14 years of mining experience, was fatally injured when the diesel locomotive he was operating crashed through a closed airlock door.  The diesel locomotive was pulling six drop deck cars and had stopped to allow another motorman operating a trailing locomotive to separate the cars to provide the clearance needed to pass through the airlock.  As the other motorman was preparing to couple his locomotive to the cars, the train unexpectedly moved forward and continued away from him towards the slope bottom where it crashed through the closed outby airlock door.

Best Practices

  • Communicate your position and intended movements to other locomotive operators and other miners that may be in the area.
  • Always look in the direction of equipment movement and ensure travelways are clear.
  • Exercise caution in low clearance work areas and maintain adequate clearance for equipment.
  • Keep all body parts within the operator’s compartment while the equipment is in motion.
  • Maintain control of equipment so that it can be safely stopped.
  • Assure dead-man controls are fail-safe and maintain brakes and dynamic retarding controls.

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

TRAM Presentation

Oct 14, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-8-29-33-pmOne of the great benefits of attending TRAM is that MSHA distributes DVD’s with all presentations on them. The bad thing is these take some time to prepare, create, and mail. People in my presentation expressed an interest in having some of the material available ASAP, so here it is. It’s common for TRAM to provide the type of energy that make you want to start putting the ideas to work as soon as you get home.

Here’s the link to my presentation. If you have any problems accessing it please let me know.


I’m at TRAM this week picking up materials and ideas for training with other great safety professionals. If you’re there too look me up and say hi. 

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Learn about Who Needs A Flu Vaccine.
Each year 111,000,000 work days are lost to flu. Many of those are preventable by either getting a flu shot or strangely enough staying home when you have the flu. When you stay home you add to those hours, but subtract others by preventing the spread of the flu to others.

Start right. Get the shot.

Click on the graphic for more advice and materials from the CDC.

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m10On July 25, 2016, a 59 year old Excavator Operator, with 17 years of experience, was killed at a limestone quarry.  Prior to the accident, the victim was loading shot rock into haul trucks. While waiting for the haul trucks to return, the victim was separating out over sized rocks when the cab of his excavator was struck by falling material from the highwall.

Best Practices

  • Operate excavators with the cab perpendicular to, and swinging away from, the highwall.
  • Examine highwalls from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest) while maintaining the safety of the examiner(s). Look for signs of cracking or other geologic discontinuities.
  • Maintain access to the top of highwalls so that thorough examinations can be conducted.
  • Perform supplemental examinations of highwalls, banks, benches, and sloping terrain in the working area during and following inclement weather.
  • Immediately remove all personnel exposed to hazardous ground conditions, barricade, and/or post signs to prevent entry, and promptly correct unsafe conditions.
  • Use mining methods that ensure highwall stability and safe working conditions.
  • Look, Listen and Evaluate your highwall and pit conditions daily, especially after each rain, freeze, or thaw.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures for working near highwalls.  Be your own examiner and find hazards before they find you.

Refer to PIB P10-09 ‘Safety Precautions for Operating Rubber Tired and Track-Mounted Excavators’ for additional information regarding hazards related to operating excavators at surface mines.

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

m09On June 27, 2016, a 61-year old Mine Superintendent, with 24 years of experience, was killed at a limestone quarry.  The victim was building a ramp to the lower bench, was positioning his haul truck to dump a load of material near the edge of a highwall, and rolled backwards over the 90 foot highwall.

Best Practices

  • Utilize ground control methods, such as berms and dumping short to maintain distance from a drop off.
  • Maintain equipment braking and steering systems in good repair and adjustment.
  • Maintain control of self-propelled mobile equipment while it is in motion.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work.  Routinely monitor work habits and examine work areas to ensure that safe work procedures are followed.
  • Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed.
  • Ensure that the mining practice creates grades at the top of highwalls that slope down away from the edge.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended brake performance test procedures especially after brake maintenance is performed.  Where no manufacturer test procedures are available, develop mine-specific brake performance test procedures.
  • Train all truck drivers to maintain the truck perpendicular to the edge when backing up at a dump site.  Slope the dump area so that trucks must back up a slight grade.
  • Get out of your equipment and inspect the work area before performing your job.

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