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).

m17On December 28, 2015, a 42-year old miner with 3 years of experience was killed at a surface gold mine. The operator of a loaded haul truck was attempting to have his truck climb a snow covered access road when his truck slid backwards striking the cab of the victim’s loaded haul truck, which was also recovering from sliding backwards down the same access road. Several minutes later, a third loaded haul truck also slid down backwards while attempting to climb the access road, colliding with the other wrecked haul trucks.

Best Practices

  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Haulage roads should be examined 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.
  • 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.
  • Observe all speed limits, traffic rules, and ensure that grades on haulage roads are appropriate for haulage equipment being used.
  • Maintain appropriate distance between vehicles to allow for corrective action.
  • On snow covered steep grades, consider the use of chains for better traction while stopping or climbing.

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

m14On August 3, 2015, a 26-year old miner with 4 years of experience was killed at an underground gold mine. The drill was traveling in the reverse direction of travel up a 10% slope and was carrying a 13½ ft. long drill steel in a rack that had been installed on the machine. The forward end of the drill steel struck a rib causing it to be pushed back toward the operator. The drill steel struck and killed the operator, and caused him to fall to the ground. No witnesses were present at the time of the accident.

Best Practices

  • When mobile equipment is equipped with seat belts they should be worn at all times when operating that equipment.
  • Loads on mobile equipment shall be properly secured and positioned safely prior to moving equipment.
  • Miners should operate mobile equipment at speeds consistent with the type of equipment, roadway conditions, grades, clearances, visibility, and other traffic that allow them to maintain control at all times. Maintain all roadways free of materials that may pose a hazard to equipment operators. This includes materials on the floor and protruding from the ribs, back, or walls.
  • Keep mobile equipment operator’s stations free of materials that can impair the safe operation of the equipment. Ensure that equipment controls are maintained and function as designed.

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

m07On May 28, 2015, a 61-year old water truck operator with 2 years of experience was killed at a surface gold mine. The victim was killed when a water truck ran over a portable toilet that was occupied by the victim.

Best Practices

  • Locate portable toilet facilities in areas inaccessible to mobile equipment.  Always be aware of equipment operating in close proximity to your area.
  • Ensure that all persons are clear before moving equipment.
  • Sound your horn to warn  persons prior to moving mobile equipment  and wait a few moments to give them time to get to a safe location.
  • Communicate with mobile equipment operators before getting on or off of equipment and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  • Establish rules and use signs or signals warning of hazards at locations where pedestrians and mobile equipment are both performing tasks.

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

2On January 11, 2015, a 53-year old contract shaft miner with 35 years of experience was killed at an underground gold mine.  The victim was positioned on a work platform on top of a skip traveling up the ventilation shaft.  He struck a steel cross member on a beam in the shaft.

Best Practices

  • Train all persons in hazard recognition, awareness of their surroundings, and safe positioning when riding skips.
  • To prevent hazard exposure, require safe positioning for personnel who ride skips.
  • Monitor all persons for safe positioning when riding skips.
  • Place warning signs on skip platforms to remind persons to keep body parts inside the handrails.

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

ftl2014m10
On April 28, 2014, a 53-year-old miner with 32 years of experience was killed at an underground gold mine. The victim was drilling with a jackleg drill when his clothing became entangled in the drill steel of the machine.
Best Practices

  • Ensure that persons are trained, including task-training, to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.
  • Conduct work place examinations before beginning any work.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
  • Stop the drill rotation when performing tasks near the rotating steel.
  • Provide safe routing of hoses and cables so they are not close to the rotation of the drill.
  • Do not assign a person to work alone in areas where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger his or her safety.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing when working around drilling machinery.
  • Keep work areas clean and free of tripping hazards.

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

ftl2013m08On June 2, 2013, a 42-year old miner with 2½ years of experience was killed at an underground gold mine. The victim was operating a Load Haul Dump (LHD), preparing to backfill a stope, when the LHD overtraveled the edge of the stope and fell into the open hole.

Best Practices

  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks.
  • Before beginning any work, ensure that persons are properly task trained and understand the hazards associated with the work to be performed.
  • Provide berms, bumper blocks, safety hooks or similar impeding devices at dumping locations where there is a hazard of overtravel or overturning.

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

On August 31, 2012, a 49-year old driller with 24 years of mining experience was killed at an underground gold mine. The victim was assigned to prepare the work area to set up a long-hole bench drill and was working near an open stope when he fell down the stope. He was inadvertently loaded out with the material and transported by a haul truck to the surface where he was later discovered.

Best Practices
 

  • Always use fall protection with a lanyard anchored securely when working where there is a danger of falling.
  • Examine workplaces for changing conditions when the strata, drill patterns, or other workplace conditions change.
  • Establish policies and procedures for safely clearing hung or stuck material and ensure that persons follow those safe policies and procedures.
  • Ensure that persons are task-trained and understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
  • Ensure that areas are barricaded or have warning signs posted at all approaches where hazards exist that are not immediately obvious.
  • Consider using a “miner in distress” call feature available on many communication and tracking systems carried by miners. This feature is designed to improve emergency response if a miner working alone or out of sight of other miners requires immediate assistance.

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

On October 28, 2011, a 21 year-old contract tire repair technician with 37 weeks of experience was killed at a surface gold operation. The victim was working in a shop repairing a haul truck tire. He was applying adhesive inside the tire and was completely out of view. He was not wearing respiratory protection.

Best Practices
 

  • Develop, implement, and maintain a written Hazard Communication (HazCom) program.
  • Ensure that a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is accessible to persons for each hazardous chemical to which they may be exposed.
  • Review and discuss MSDS control section recommendations. Establish and discuss safe work procedures before starting any work and identify and control all hazards.
  • Train all persons to recognize and understand safe job procedures, including the physical and health hazards of chemicals that are being used and the proper use of respiratory protection.
  • Ensure that adequate exhaust ventilation is provided to all work areas.
  • Ensure that persons are not required to perform work alone in any area where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger their safety.

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

On September 7, 2011, a 30 year-old miner with I year of experience was killed at an underground gold mine. The victim was on a ramp waiting for a blast to be initiated. When the round was initiated, small rock and debris traveled through a 3-inch diameter diamond borehole, striking him.

Best Practices 

  • Plug a diamond drill hole that intersects any opening and map the hole.
  • During blasting operations, consider mine specific conditions, including diamond drill holes and rock strata, and establish mine policies and procedures to protect all persons.
  • When developing a blasting plan, make sure all drilled holes and open passageways that intersect the area to be blasted are known and taken into consideration before initiating any blast.
  • Use a central blasting system and schedule blasting between shifts or on off-shifts when no one is present.
  • Train persons to identify hazards associated with blasting activity and take action to correct them.
  • Never initiate a blast until the blast area has been determined to be safe and all persons have been evacuated from the designated blasting area.
  • Take special precautions to ensure that all roadways and regularly traveled areas are blocked to prevent access when blasting is being conducted.
Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report(pdf), Overview(powerpoint), Overview (pdf).