On June 8, 2017, a truck driver was operating a Caterpillar 777F haul truck, dumping a load of gravel, when the ground at the dump point collapsed.   The truck went over the edge of the dump point, overturning and landing on its roof approximately 30 feet below. The victim was transported to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

Best Practices

  • Ensure seat belts are provided, maintained, and worn at all times when equipment is in operation.
  • Incorporate engineering controls that require seat belts to be properly fastened before equipment can be put into motion.
  • Visually inspect dumping locations prior to beginning work and as changing conditions change.
  • While loading out stockpiles, do not excavate the toe of the slopes below dumping points and travelways.
  • Utilize a bulldozer with the “dump-short, push-over” method of stockpiling material.
  • Provide and maintain adequate berms on the banks of roadways and at dumping points where a drop-off exists.
  • Train miners to recognize and avoid dumping point hazards and to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.

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

On January 25, 2017, a miner was found in an underground limestone mine after failing to exit the mine at the end of the shift.  The miner was located under material that had fallen from the rib in an area of the mine that had been barricaded to prevent entry due to bad roof and rib conditions.

Best Practices

  • Install barriers to impede unauthorized entry into areas where unattended hazardous ground conditions exist.
  • Establish procedures to account for miners in all areas of the mine – surface, underground, shops, and facilities – across and at the end of shifts.
  • Do not cross barriers that are intended to prevent access to dangered-off areas of underground mines.
  • Train miners to recognize potentially hazardous ground conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards.
  • Never enter hazardous areas that have been dangered-off or otherwise identified to prohibit entry.
  • Develop and train miners on a method that clearly alerts miners not to enter hazardous areas.
  • If possible, do not work alone. If working alone, communicate intended movements to a responsible person.

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

m13-jpgOn September 21, 2016, a 52 year old contract drill operator / mechanic, with more than 30 years of experience, was killed at a limestone mine while performing maintenance on a truck-mounted rotary drill.  At the time of the accident, the victim was attempting to remove the spindle cap from the top of the drill head while standing on the drilling deck.  The victim was using a modified pipe wrench in an attempt to loosen the spindle cap using the machine’s drill rotation hydraulics by reaching into the operator’s compartment.  As the victim activated the drill rotation lever, the wrench swung and struck him.  The force of the impact knocked him against the operator’s cab, denting the frame and breaking the side window while the rotating wrench pierced his abdomen.  As the victim attempted to climb down an adjacent step ladder, he was observed falling to the ground and striking his head.  The victim was transported to a local hospital and died later that day as a result of his injuries.

Best Practices

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures to be used while performing maintenance on machinery.  Incorporate the manufacturer’s recommended operating procedures into related safety and task training programs.
  • Train all persons to recognize the potential hazards and understand safe work procedures to eliminate hazards before beginning work.
  • Ensure that machinery components are blocked against hazardous motion prior to performing maintenance or repairs.
  • Use appropriate equipment and hand tools for the job.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
  • Stay inside of the drill cab when operating the drill.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.

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).

m11On May 18, 2015, a 59-year old delivery truck driver with 32 years of experience was killed at a cement plant.  The victim arrived at the plant to deliver drums. After opening the trailer doors, the driver walked to the cab of his truck and proceeded to climb the steps to get back in the cab when he fell backwards onto the ground striking the back of his head.

Best Practices

  • Always use the “Three Points of Contact” method. Ensure that either two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet are in contact with the ladder at all times when mounting and dismounting equipment.
  • Equipment should be designed to minimize the height of the first step from the ground and be provided with hand-holds to facilitate  “Three Points of Contact”
  • Keep hands free of any objects when mounting or dismounting equipment.
  • Maintain traction by ensuring footwear is free of potential slipping hazards such as dirt, oil, and grease. Slip resistant material can be coated to existing foot holds and handrails.
  • Always face equipment when mounting or dismounting it.
  • Always maintain and use the access provided by the manufacturer.

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

m23On December 1, 2014, a 46-year-old contract truck driver with 26 years of experience was killed at a limestone mine.  The articulating haul truck he was operating traveled over a roadway berm and went into a large pond.  Dive teams extricated the victim from the truck.

Best Practices

  • Task train mobile equipment operators adequately in all phases of mobile equipment operation before operating mobile equipment.
  • Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any defects affecting safety in a timely manner prior to operating mobile equipment.
  • Always wear a seat belt when operating self-propelled mobile equipment.
  • Maintain control of self-propelled mobile equipment while it is in motion.
  • Operate mobile equipment at speeds consistent with the conditions of roadways, tracks, grades, clearance, visibility, curves, and traffic.
  • Provide and maintain adequate berms or guardrails on the banks of roadways where a drop-off exists.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

m18On August 25, 2014, a 54-year-old truck driver with 1 year of experience was killed at a limestone mine.  The victim went to a storage building to get some wooden planks.  He climbed a stack of loaded pallets to get to the planks that were near the rafters and fell approximately 8 feet to the ground below.  The next day two coworkers arrived at the mine and found the victim at approximately 6:05 a.m.

Best Practices

  • 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.
  • Ensure that persons are trained, including task-training, to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
  • Develop a plan to store supplies and other items in an accessible way to ensure ease of retrieval and transportation.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and any hazards that may be present.
  • Provide and maintain a safe means of access to all working places.  Always work from a stable position.
  • Do not assign a person to work alone in areas where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger his or her safety.
  • Account for all persons at the end of each shift.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

ftl2014m09On February 27, 2014, a 27-year-old contract mechanic with 2 years of experience was injured at an underground limestone mine.  The victim was repairing a hydraulic pump on a scaler when fell from an attached walkway approximately five feet to the ground.  He was airlifted to a hospital where he died the next day.

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.
  • Ensure effective gates, safety chains, or railings are used and properly maintained where openings may exist that could pose a hazard.

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

ftl2014m05-06On April 11, 2014, a 53-year-old scaler with 8 years of experience and a 29-year old scaler with 8 years of experience were killed at an underground limestone mine.  The miners were in a basket on a boom truck scaling a pillar about 40 feet above the mine floor.  Large slabs of rock fell from the rib and struck an outrigger and the back of the truck, causing the boom to fall to the mine floor. 

Best Practices

  • Establish safe work procedures and train all persons to recognize and understand these procedures.
  • 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.
  • Always examine, sound, and test for loose ground in areas before starting to work, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant.
  • Always wear fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
  • Scale loose material from a safe position and location.
  • Test for loose material frequently during work activities.
  • Install ground support in roof and ribs where conditions warrant.
  • Use equipment with a reach that reduces the possibility of the equipment being struck by falling material.
  • Position equipment to keep outriggers and boom from being struck by falling material.

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

ftl2014c02On Friday, February 21, 2014, a 24-year-old continuous mining machine operator with 5½ years of mining experience was killed when he was pinned between the end of the boom of a continuous mining machine and the right coal rib. The miner was tramming the remote controlled continuous mining machine in the last open crosscut toward the Number 1 entry.

Best Practices
  • Install and maintain proximity detection systems to protect personnel and eliminate accidents of this type. See the proximity detection single source page on the MSHA website.
  • Ensure everyone, including the equipment operator, is outside the machine turning radius before starting or moving equipment.
  • Develop policies and procedures for starting and tramming self-propelled equipment and especially remote controlled continuous mining machines. Implement measures to assure their use which includes training all miners that are exposed to the hazards.
  • Avoid the “RED ZONE” areas when operating or working near a continuous mining machine especially when setting over or place changing a remote controlled continuous mining machine.
  • When moving continuous mining machines where the left and right traction drives are operated independently, use the low tram speed.
  • Assign another miner to assist the continuous mining machine operator when it is being moved or repositioned.
  • Frequently review, retrain, and discuss avoiding the “RED ZONE” areas.

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