m04On January 26, 2015, a 57-year old heavy equipment operator with 36 years of experience was seriously injured at a phosphate mine.  He was operating an excavator near a water filled ditch when the excavator tipped forward and went in the water, submerging the cab.  The victim was removed from the cab and transported to a hospital where he died later that day.

Best Practices

  • Task train all persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and safe job procedures to identify and eliminate all hazards before beginning work, specifically the limited visibility of large equipment.
  • 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 miners.
  • Provide traffic patterns and roads that minimize the danger of machines traveling near bodies of water.
  • Conduct examinations of travelways to evaluate hazards.
  • Install barriers, markers, or other warning devices to aid equipment operators where travelways are not recognizable or hazards are not apparent.  Limit travel of mobile equipment and inform mobile equipment operators of hazards.
  • Do not travel into areas where ground conditions can’t be verified.  If necessary, use the bucket of the machine to probe the travel/work area to check the ground conditions.

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

On March 2, 2011, a 51 year- old contract superintendent with 24 years of experience was killed at a phosphate rock operation. The victim was attempting to join two ends of 24-inch diameter pipe. Two excavators were being used to position the pipe in the saddle of a pipe fuser when the pipe slipped out and struck him.

Best Practices

  • Establish safe work procedures and identify and remove hazards before beginning a task. Follow the equipment manufacturer’s procedures for the work being performed to ensure that all hazards have been addressed.
  • Train persons to recognize the hazards associated with performing a task.
  • Repair broken or damaged equipment immediately.
  • Block material against motion to assure energy cannot be released while the task is performed.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.

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

On February 12, 2011, a 41 year- old grader operator with 15 years of experience was killed at a phosphate rock operation. The victim and a coworker were standing and talking when he was struck by a grader that was backing up. The accident occurred in a staging area where equipment operators were inspecting their equipment before the shift.

Best Practices

  • Train all persons to recognize work place hazards and to stay clear of normal paths of travel for mobile equipment.
  • Regularly monitor work practices and reinforce their importance. Take immediate action to correct unsafe conditions or work practices.
  • Designate a specific area, clear of mobile equipment, where persons can meet before the shift starts.
  • Install cameras and collision avoidance systems on mobile equipment to protect persons.
  • Ensure that illumination is adequate at the work site.
  • Before moving mobile equipment, look in the direction of travel, use all mirrors, cameras, backup alarms, and installed proximity detection devices to ensure no one is in the intended path.
  • Sound the horn to warn persons of movement and allow time to move to a safe location.
  • Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.
  • Wear high visibility clothing when working around mobile equipment.
  • Consider use of wearable strobes when near mobile equipment.

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