On Monday, October 23, 2017, a 48-year-old mine examiner with 19 years of mining experience, received fatal injuries after he fell on the No. 1 conveyor belt near the transfer point with the No. 2 conveyor belt and was transported by the belt conveyor system to the raw coal pile. It appears he was attempting to cross the No. 1 conveyor belt at the time of the accident.

Best Practices

  • Never attempt to cross a moving conveyor belt, except at suitable crossing facilities.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working on or traveling around moving conveyor belts.
  • Provide conveyor belt stop and start controls at areas where miners must access both sides of the belt.
  • Install practical and usable belt crossing facilities at strategic locations, including near controls, when height allows.
  • Install pull cords to disconnect power to the conveyor belt at strategic locations along the conveyor belt.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On September 5, 2017, a 20-year old plant operator with 23 weeks of experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel mine. The victim was performing maintenance on a belt conveyor when he became entangled in the tail pulley.

Best Practices

  • Establish policies and procedures for conducting specific tasks on belt conveyors.
  • Before beginning any work, ensure that persons assigned to work on belt conveyors are task trained and understand the hazards associated with the work to be performed.
  • Do not perform work on a belt conveyor until the power is off, locked, and tagged, and machinery components are blocked against motion.
  • Never clean pulleys or idlers manually while belt conveyors are operating.
  • Identify hazards around belt conveyor systems, design guarding, and securely install the guarding to ensure miners do not contact moving machine parts.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On July 27, 2017, a miner was fatally injured when his light-duty truck was run over by a haul truck. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Best Practices

  •  Do not park smaller vehicles in a large truck’s potential path of movement.• Before moving mobile equipment, be certain no one is in the intended path; sound the horn to warn possible unseen persons; and wait to give them time to move to a safe location.
  • Ensure all persons are trained to recognize workplace hazards – specifically, the limited visibility and blind areas inherent to operation of large equipment and the hazard of mobile equipment traveling near them.
  • Establish procedures that require smaller vehicles to maintain a safe distance from large mobile equipment until eye contact is made or approval to move closer is obtained from the mobile equipment operator. Provide training on these procedures.
  • Install cameras and collision avoidance systems on large trucks to protect persons.
  • Regularly monitor work practices and reinforce their importance. Take immediate action to correct unsafe conditions or work practices.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Friday, August 25, 2017, a 51-year-old mine examiner with 27 years of mining experience was killed when, near the transfer point with the No. 2 conveyor belt, he apparently lost his footing attempting to cross over the moving No. 1 conveyor belt. He fell onto the No. 1 belt and hit a belt crossover located approximately 10 feet outby. The victim was found beside the conveyor belt just outside the mine entrance.

Best Practices

  • Never attempt to cross a moving conveyor belt except at suitable crossing facilities.
  • Train all employees thoroughly on the dangers of working on or traveling around moving conveyor belts.
  • Provide conveyor belt stop and start controls at areas where miners must access both sides of the belt.
  • Install practical and usable belt crossing facilities at strategic locations, including near controls, when height allows.
  • Install pull cords and switches that control power to the belt along the wide side of the length of the conveyor belt to stop the belt in emergencies.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

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 March 24, 2017, the victim exited his personal flatbed truck, which was left running in 6th gear, to turn off the genset (diesel generator). Prior to ascending the steps to the diesel generator, it appears the flatbed truck moved forward and pinned him against the genset trailer. The victim was found on Monday, March 27, 2017, and pronounced dead at the scene.

Best Practices

  • Place the transmission in park and set the park brake before exiting vehicle.
  • Do not depend on hydraulic systems to hold mobile equipment in a stationary position.
  • Always chock the wheels when parking vehicles on a grade.
  • Never place yourself in front of an unsecured piece of mobile equipment

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On June 19, 2017, a 32-year-old preshift examiner was fatally injured when he was thrown or jumped from a moving locomotive.  Two locomotives (front and rear) were being used to transport three supply cars into the mine.  The examiner was riding in the passenger seat of the front locomotive when the operators lost control on a grade and the front locomotive and the first two supply cars derailed.

Best Practices

  • Maintain all equipment, including diesel-powered locomotives, in approved and safe operating condition or remove from service.
  • Conduct a pre-operational examination of mobile diesel-powered track equipment to be used during a shift.  Equipment defects affecting safety shall be reported and corrected before the equipment is used.
  • Perform functional tests of the brakes and sanders as part of the pre-operational examination.
  • Train all mobile diesel-powered track equipment operators on the braking systems, as well as on changing conditions that can create dampness on the rails reducing traction.
  • Operate the haulage equipment at a safe speed consistent with the track’s condition. Sand the tracks when there is high humidity at the mine.
  • Engage both the automatic and manual braking systems when the locomotive is stopped for any reason.
  • Secure loads to prevent shifting while in motion. Ensure clear communication between operators when multiple locomotives are used for haulage.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, an outby utility miner received fatal injuries when his head hit the mine roof and/or roof support.  He and another miner were travelling in a trolley-powered supply locomotive when the accident occurred.  While the locomotive was still in motion, the trolley pole came off the trolley wire.  The victim grabbed the pole to place it back on the trolley wire.  In this slightly elevated position, the victim hit his head on the mine roof and was fatally injured.

Best Practices

  • STOP trolley-powered vehicles before placing the trolley pole back on the trolley wire.
  • Mining conditions change – often abruptly.  Always face the direction of travel and exercise extreme caution in low clearance areas.
  • Keep all body parts within the operator’s compartment while a vehicle is in motion.  Stay below the highest part of a vehicle frame or windshield, especially when travelling through low clearance areas.
  • Install signs to warn miners of approaching low clearance areas and train miners to reduce speed in those areas.
  • Conduct proper travelway examinations to identify and mitigate the hazards presented by low clearances.
  • Properly install and maintain trolley wire and trolley poles to eliminate areas where the trolley pole is prone to coming off the trolley wire.
  • Examine the trolley pole harp for excessive wear.  Ensure it is properly lubricated to allow it to swivel adequately to maintain proper contact with the trolley wire.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, a 62-year-old miner with 14 years of mining experience was fatally injured when the haul truck he was operating went over the highwall and fell approximately 150 feet. The victim was dumping overburden over the highwall when the accident occurred.

Best Practices

  • DUMP SHORT and PUSH OVER when dumping loads over highwalls.  See MSHA’s Dump Point Inspection Handbook
  • Maintain adequate ground conditions, including berms, at dump locations.
  • Examine dump locations prior to beginning work and as mine conditions change.  Clearly mark dump locations with reflectors and/or markers.
  • Train miners to use safe dumping procedures and recognize dumping hazards.
  • Monitor dumping activities to assure safe work practices are followed.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

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), Final Report (pdf).