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).

 

m26On June 17, 2014, Ronald Dwayne Dunn, Customer Truck Driver, age 41, parked his bulk tanker truck at a tanker top access platform, went to the top of the platform, and opened the bulk hatch on the trailer in preparation to get loaded with cement.  Another driver noticed the victim was not on top of the truck.  The driver found that the victim was inside the tank of the truck but could not get him out and called for help.  A responder team arrived and found the victim unresponsive.  He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

On September 3, 2014, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) referred the accident to the Chargeability Review Committee.  On February 2, 2015, the Chargeability Review Committee determined that this death should be charged to the mining industry.  The autopsy report indicated that the manner of death was accidental and that the cause of death was asthma exacerbated by environmental dust exposure. The toxicology screen detected levels of theophylline, the active ingredient in the asthma inhaler.  It appears Dunn may have accidentally dropped his asthma inhaler into the tank, proceeded to climb into the tank to retrieve it, and was unable to get out.

[SafeMiners.com note: We’re posting these much later, catching up from late notice and even later pictures from MSHA for the reasons noted above.]

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

On Friday, November 30, 2012, a 58-year old bulldozer operator with 37 years of experience was killed when an upstream slope failure occurred at a coal slurry impoundment. The victim was grading the upstream slope at the time of the accident. The bulldozer was carried into the pool area during the slide and sank with the victim on board.

Best Practices
  • Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment for recognition of hazards associated with the impoundment and pushout work, such as surface cracks or bubbling in water/slurry.
  • Review safety precautions for upstream construction with equipment operators, along with material handling safety policies and designated storage areas for safety equipment.
  • Provide oversight by knowledgeable personnel at the work site. Assure that a person is present who is familiar with the mechanics of upstream construction and can recognize and have unsafe work practices and conditions corrected immediately.
  • Remove all personnel to a safe location when unsafe impoundment conditions are present.
  • Prior to initiating push-outs, expose the slurry delta by pumping excess surface water down to the maximum extent possible, and for as long as possible.
  • Use two-way radios or similar devices on all equipment during impoundment related construction, so that potential hazards can be communicated quickly with equipment operators and personnel.
  • Maintain a work skiff with oars and life jackets near the pushout area.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On October 10, 2012, a 55-year old contract painter with 35 years of experience was killed at a kaolin and ball clay operation. He was standing on the bottom of a 40-foot high, 50-foot diameter tank that was open to the atmosphere and covered with mesh cloth material. He was spraying coal tar on the inside walls of the tank and was found unconscious by coworkers. He was recovered by emergency personnel and pronounced dead at a hospital.

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 with employees that may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. 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, gloves, body suits, hearing, and eye & face protection.
  • Ensure that adequate 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.
  • Conduct air monitoring with calibrated instruments to ensure a safe working atmosphere. Air monitoring should be done prior to workers entering the confined work space and continuously till the workers have exited the enclosed area. Atmospheric monitoring at minimum includes Oxygen, LEL and all potential toxic gases in the work place.

Based on MSHA’s investigation and the finding of the death certificate, MSHA later concluded that the miner died from natural causes and that the fatality is not chargeable.

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).