On February 3, 2017, a 54-year-old truck driver received hip and leg fractures when he jumped from the cab of his truck as it was overturning.  The victim positioned the truck on the dump pad and began raising the bed.  Material in the bed was frozen or compacted and created an uneven load.  As the bed reached full extension, the truck fell over.  Due to complications associated with his injuries, the victim passed away 7 days later.

Best Practices

  • Stay in the cab when problems are encountered while operating the truck.  Do not jump.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when operating mobile equipment.
  • Establish safe work procedures for dumping a loaded truck and train all employees.
  • Use techniques to prevent material from freezing or sticking in truck beds.
  • After dumping, remove compacted material from the truck bed before more material is added.
  • Assure all loads are evenly distributed.
  • While dumping, use mirrors to see if the truck bed begins to lean and, if it does, immediately lower the bed.
  • Examine work areas and routinely monitor work habits to ensure that safe work procedures are followed.
  • Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, a 42-year-old miner with 23 years of mining experience was fatally injured when he contacted a moving drive roller for the section belt.  The victim was positioned between the guard and the conveyor belt drive when he came in contact with the shaft of the belt drive roller.

Best Practices

  • Before working on equipment, de-energize electrical power, lock and tag the visual disconnect with your lock and tag, and block parts that can move against motion.
  • Keep guards securely in place while working around conveyor drives.
  • When working around moving machine parts, avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing such as shirts or jackets with hoods.  Secure ends of sleeves and pant legs, as well as loose items such as personal light cords.
  • Guard shaft ends such as protruding bolts, keyways or couplings.
  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working or traveling around moving conveyor belts and their associated components,

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On December 21, 2016, a 39-year old contract truck driver, with 11 months of mining experience, was injured on the surface of an underground gold mine. The victim was hauling gold ore in an over-the-road truck from the mine to the plant. While descending the roadway from the mine, the victim lost control of his truck. He traveled up an embankment and over an approximate 20 foot drop, landing back in the roadway. The victim was transported to the hospital and died from his injuries several days later.

Best Practices

  • Maintain equipment braking systems in good repair and adjustment.  Never rely on engine brakes and transmission retarders as substitutes for keeping brakes properly maintained.
  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Examine haulage roads for hazardous conditions prior to permitting equipment access and especially when conditions change due to snow, ice, or water.
  • Communicate hazardous conditions to other persons using the haulage road. Ensure traffic rules, signals, and warning signs are posted and obeyed.
  • Keep roadways clear and safe for travel. Remove snow and ice which may cause loss of traction for equipment along roadways.
  • Train all employees on proper work procedures, hazard recognition and avoidance.
  • Know the truck’s capabilities, operating ranges, load-limits and properly maintain the brakes and other safety features.
  • Use chains for better traction while stopping or climbing on snow covered steep grades, consider the use of chains for better traction while stopping or climbing.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf).

m12On September 8, 2016, a 58-year old Haul Truck Operator with 23 years of experience was killed at a granite mine.  The victim was operating a Caterpillar 773E haul truck and was returning to the pit to be loaded with shot rock. The truck veered from the right side of the haul road to the left and traveled over the berm at the top of the highwall.  The truck landed upside down approximately 150 feet below.  The victim was found outside the haul truck.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a seat belt when operating a haul truck or mobile equipment.
  • Conduct thorough, in depth task training to cover potential hazards.
  • Monitor employees regularly to ensure seat belts are worn when operating mobile equipment.
  • Emphasize that improperly worn seat belts can NOT provide the proper restraint to necessary to protect equipment operators in hazardous situations.
  • Conduct pre-operational checks to identify defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before being placed into service.
  • Observe all speed limits, traffic rules, and ensure that grades on haulage roads are appropriate for haulage equipment being used. Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
  • Provide and maintain adequate berms and other barriers of mid-axle height.
  • Perform safety inspections that include braking systems and seat belts before operating equipment; promptly remove equipment from service if defects affecting safety are found.

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

c08On Friday, September 23, 2016, a 46-year-old miner was fatally injured in a vehicle accident that occurred along a portion of a mine’s access/haul road. The victim (passenger) and a coworker (driver) were traveling down an inclined portion of the road when the driver apparently lost control of the pickup truck, causing it to strike the road berm and roll over in the roadway.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a seat belt when operating mobile equipment, including personal trucks and automobiles.
  • Operate vehicles and equipment at safe speeds, maintain control at all times, and adjust speed for the prevailing conditions (road grade, visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Avoid using hand-held cell phones or texting while operating any mobile equipment.
  • Ensure that traffic rules, speed limits, and warning signs are posted in visible locations along the roadway.  Ensure the rules are obeyed.
  • Ensure that access roads on mine property used by miners in personal vehicles are maintained and are free of hazards.
  • Provide proper training to all employees on roadway hazards.
  • Maintain steering and braking systems in good repair and adjustment.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

c06On Monday, May 16, 2016, a 50-year-old motorman, with over 14 years of mining experience, was fatally injured when the diesel locomotive he was operating crashed through a closed airlock door.  The diesel locomotive was pulling six drop deck cars and had stopped to allow another motorman operating a trailing locomotive to separate the cars to provide the clearance needed to pass through the airlock.  As the other motorman was preparing to couple his locomotive to the cars, the train unexpectedly moved forward and continued away from him towards the slope bottom where it crashed through the closed outby airlock door.

Best Practices

  • Communicate your position and intended movements to other locomotive operators and other miners that may be in the area.
  • Always look in the direction of equipment movement and ensure travelways are clear.
  • Exercise caution in low clearance work areas and maintain adequate clearance for equipment.
  • Keep all body parts within the operator’s compartment while the equipment is in motion.
  • Maintain control of equipment so that it can be safely stopped.
  • Assure dead-man controls are fail-safe and maintain brakes and dynamic retarding controls.

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

m02On March 8, 2016, a 54-year old miner with 5 years of mining experience was killed at a surface sand and gravel operation. The miner backed his haul truck over a dump site and the driver was found at the bottom of the embankment, 60 feet below. The victim was found unresponsive and partially submerged in water. CPR was attempted, but the victim was not able to be resuscitated.

Best Practices

  • Maintain berms at least mid-axle height on the largest piece of equipment using a roadway.
  • Visually inspect dumping locations prior to beginning work and as changing conditions warrant. Clearly mark dump locations with reflectors and/or markers.
  • Provide training to all dump-point workers on recognizing dump-point hazards, taking appropriate corrective measures, and using safe dumping procedures. Instruct all drivers to maintain the truck perpendicular to the edge when backing up at dump sites.
  • To lower risks at dump areas, dumping should be conducted a safe distance from the edge. Utilize a bulldozer with the “dump-short, push-over” method of spoiling material.
  • Ensure work areas and dump sites are properly illuminated at night.
  • Equipment operators should always wear seat belts.
  • Monitor persons routinely to determine safe work procedures are followed.

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

c01On Monday, January 4, 2016, a 53 year-old belt foreman/fireboss with 34 years of mining experience was fatally injured when he came in contact with a moving underground belt conveyor. The victim was preparing to change out a hold up roller when he was caught by the moving belt and pulled into the roller.

Best Practices

  • Never perform work on a moving conveyor belt.
  • Ensure that power is off with a visual disconnect before any work is performed, use your own lock and tag.
  • Ensure that machinery is blocked against motion before performing maintenance or repairs.
  • Always identify safety hazards before beginning any task.
  • Stay out of areas along a moving conveyor belt where clearance is restricted.
  • Cross moving conveyor belts only where suitable crossing facilities are provided. (e.g. cross-overs or cross-unders).
  • Ensure all guards are adequate and securely in place where exposed moving machine parts may be contacted by persons.

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

m17On December 28, 2015, a 42-year old miner with 3 years of experience was killed at a surface gold mine. The operator of a loaded haul truck was attempting to have his truck climb a snow covered access road when his truck slid backwards striking the cab of the victim’s loaded haul truck, which was also recovering from sliding backwards down the same access road. Several minutes later, a third loaded haul truck also slid down backwards while attempting to climb the access road, colliding with the other wrecked haul trucks.

Best Practices

  • Maintain control of equipment at all times, making allowances for prevailing conditions (low visibility, inclement weather, etc).
  • Haulage roads should be examined for hazardous conditions prior to permitting equipment access and especially when conditions change due to snow, ice, or water. Communicate hazardous conditions to other persons using the haulage road.
  • Keep roadways clear and safe for travel. Remove snow and ice which may cause loss of traction for equipment along roadways.
  • Train all employees on proper work procedures, hazard recognition and avoidance.
  • Observe all speed limits, traffic rules, and ensure that grades on haulage roads are appropriate for haulage equipment being used.
  • Maintain appropriate distance between vehicles to allow for corrective action.
  • On snow covered steep grades, consider the use of chains for better traction while stopping or climbing.

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