On February 19, 2009, a 61 year-old laborer with 12 years of experience was injured at a sand and gravel operation when he was struck by a crane’s falling boom. The crane was lifting a crusher and the victim was acting as a signalman when the accident occurred. He was hospitalized and died on April 12, 2009, as a result of his injuries.

Best Practices

  • Prior to attempting a lift, know the weight of the load (including the load block and rigging) and make sure it is less than the crane’s lifting capacity for the required reach. Refer to applicable load charts.
  • Perform a thorough pre-operational inspection of the crane and rigging components.
  • Stay clear of a crane’s overhead boom and do not work beneath a suspended load.
  • Always be certain that the object being lifted is completely detached from its supporting structure prior to attempting a lift.
  • Insure that the crane turntable is level prior to lifting.
  • Make sure the load is aligned directly beneath the centerline of the boom to prevent side loading.
  • Confirm that the load will not exceed the allowable capacity of the rigging.
  • Follow the crane manufacturer’s recommendations when making structural repairs and use certified welders.

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

On April 7, 2009, a 36 – year old supervisor with 15 years of experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel dredging operation. The victim was attempting to connect the 4160 volt cable for the dredge to load side terminals in the electrical panel when he came into contact with energized 4160 volt line side terminals.

Best Practices

Before YOU perform electrical work:

  • Be trained and knowledgeable in the task.
  • Be trained on all the electrical test and safety equipment necessary to safely test and ground the circuit being worked on.
  • Use properly rated Personal Protective Equipment including Arc Flash Protection such as a hood, gloves, shirt, and pants.
  • Positively identify the circuit on which work is to be conducted.
  • De-energize power and ensure that the circuit is visibly open.
  • Place YOUR lock and tag on the disconnecting device.
  • Verify the circuit is de-energized by testing for voltage using properly rated test equipment.
  • Ensure all electrical components in the cabinet are de-energized.
  • Ground ALL phase conductors to the equipment grounding medium with grounding equipment that is properly rated.

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

On January 31, 2009, a 40 year-old contractor technician with 36 weeks of experience was fatally injured at an alumina milling operation. He was cleaning hydrate that had built up inside a 30-inch pipe in the plant. The victim was using a high pressure water hose when the unrestrained hose end and attachment blew out of the pipe. He was struck by the water.

Best Practices
  • Establish, review, and follow procedures to ensure all hazards are identified and controls are used to protect persons before beginning work.
  • Train persons on hazards and safe work procedures for high pressure water cleaning.
  • Ensure that operators are in a safe position and have control of their equipment at all times.
  • Install barricades or warning signs to prohibit access.
  • Follow equipment manufacturers’ operating instructions.
  • Provide emergency stop/depressurization control.
  • Maintain sight or voice communications between person operating the high pressure nozzle and person operating the controls.
  • Use special protective equipment and clothing.
  • Contractor and mine management should routinely monitor work activities to ensure safe operating procedures are followed and persons are protected from hazards.

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

On January 17, 2009, a 48 year-old mill operator with 22 weeks of experience was fatally injured at a crushed stone milling operation. The victim was loading material into a hopper with a front-end loader. He entered the hopper to dislodge frozen bridged material that would not feed onto the belt conveyor below. Coworkers found the victim engulfed in the hopper.

Best Practices

  • Establish and review procedures to ensure all possible hazards have been identified and appropriate controls are in place to protect persons before beginning work.
  • Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition, specifically when clearing blocked hoppers.
  • Lock out discharge operating controls.
  • Ensure a safety harness properly secured to a lanyard is worn and a second person is positioned outside to adjust the lanyard.
  • Management should routinely monitor these activities to ensure miners are protected from possible hazards.
  • Provide vibrating shakers to maintain material flow or mechanical means of safely removing material if hoppers experience recurring flow problems.

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

On January 6, 2009, a 41 year-old laborer with 3 years of experience was injured at a sand and gravel operation. The victim was operating a skid steer loader underneath a belt conveyor that was being dismantled. Two coworkers were in an elevated manlift removing a 12-foot piece of 4-inch metal tubing from the leg supports of the belt conveyor frame. The tubing fell into the front of the skid steer loader as it approached the work area, striking the victim. He was hospitalized and died on January 9, 2009. The red line shows the original location of the tubing.

Best Practices

  • Establish and review procedures to ensure all possible hazards have been identified and appropriate controls are in place to protect persons before beginning work. Discuss procedures with all persons present in the work area.
  • Establish policies to ensure that barricades or warning signs are installed to prohibit access and protect persons from falling object hazards.
  • Remove all persons from beneath the area where overhead work is being performed.

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

The winning team design their noise barrier in my Hearing Conservation Challenge workshop where I shared a hands-on activity to motivate workers to protect their hearing. In spite of the various technical issues at the start we had a good time.

John gets a much needed break from exhibiting at the Eduwhere booth after shaking hands with the Governor of West Virginia. There were more exhibitors than ever this year. Eduwhere provides the MSHA on-line training that I wrote, plus many other subjects on hazardous materials, osha, and more.

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Greetings from the Mine Safety Academy. I arrived here yesterdayand settled in. I’ll try to post a report on what’s going on. I just returned from the breakfast at the cafeteria and registration hasn’t yet opened. I’ll check in later to get a schedule and see what slots I got for my presentation on Wednesday and Thursday. At 11 I have to attend a session on the new smartboards that have been placed in all the rooms. I’ll post more later.

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We just added an exciting new feature to our email lists and web page. We will be asking your opinion from time to time on important safety issues and your needs for training and materials. AND we'll be having some fun with it too with an occasional silly poll or so.


You can participate in the current one by clicking here. It asks three simple questions about what training, materials, and seminars you need for your safety issues.


One thing that will make even the serious surveys fun is that you get to see how everyone else responded. Find out if you're normal or more like me.

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Tire Safety Web Page

Jul 16, 2008
Our friends to the north in Canada have a nice page on tire safety that may be good for training or even some Off-the-Job training materials. There's lots of technical information presented inn a friendly manner and even fact sheets including one on Tire Inflation Facts: Proper tire inflation contributes to cleaner air, protects your family and saves you money, a perfect title for the newly GREEN and GAS PRICE battered drivers. Check it out at the links and at www.betiresmart.ca. Let us know what you find and how you use it or if you have any other links to share.