m10On July 15, 2015, a 25-year old contractor with 6 months of experience was killed at a Kaolin processing plant. The victim was working alone and entered a railcar to wash out residual product.  The victim was later found unresponsive inside the railcar.

Best Practices

  • Miners MUST be adequately informed and trained for the hazards they will encounter. The mine operator should have a plan that addresses confined space entry, monitoring, (attendance) and rescue specific to the types of confined spaces at the mine.
  • Purging of the confined space to remove contaminants should be done before entry by means of a high volume of fresh air flow. Mechanical ventilation may be necessary to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air is provided for miners working in the confined space.
  • The person outside of the confined space should be ready to summon help if the miner inside the confined space requires assistance. The person monitoring should carry a portable radio to call for assistance in an emergency.  No miner should ever enter a confined space to conduct a rescue without awareness of the hazard(s) present and appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Miners working within confined spaces should never work alone.  Ensure that a trained person is posted outside the confined space to monitor the miner working in the confined space. The miner working in the confined space should be attached to a lifeline.
  • Prior to use, gas detection equipment should calibrated or bump tested per manufacturer recommendations and miners should be task trained in the use of such equipment.
  • Oxygen deficiency is the leading cause of confined space fatalities.  Check the atmosphere inside the confined space for adequate oxygen, toxic contamination and accumulation of flammable gases with a suitable gas detector before entering the confined space.  Wear supplied air respirators when making these examinations.

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