m07-08On June 3, 2016, a 24-year old haul truck operator, with 9 months of experience, and a 56-year old hydraulic excavator operator, with 6 years of experience, were killed at a sand and gravel operation.  The two miners were working in a pit next to an abandoned roadway embankment, which partially bound an old pit.  Waste clay and sand had been placed in the old pit for reclamation purposes.  The embankment failed and the tailings and slurry engulfed both miners.

Best Practices

  • Make sure that embankments containing ponds of water, tailings, processing waste, or other fluids are designed and constructed to be stable, and that mining operations are kept a safe distance away.
  • Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment to recognize hazards associated with the impoundment, such as surface cracks or piping, and to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease stability before beginning work.
  • Embankments adjoining workplaces and travelways should be examined weekly or more often if changing ground conditions warrant.
  • Adverse weather, such as heavy rain, may introduce or increase hazardous conditions associated with impoundments, highwalls, and embankments. Workplace examinations should be increased when these hazards are present to recognize changing conditions.
  • Before beginning work, conduct a workplace exam from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest) of ground conditions that could create a hazard to persons and repair, support or remove if found immediately.  Correct hazardous conditions by working from a safe location.

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