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 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 March 14, 2017, an independent owner/operator truck driver, walked behind his raised end-dump trailer, while dumping his load and was engulfed by sand.

Best Practices

  • Conduct pre-operational checks to identify any defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
  • Ensure workers who operate heavy equipment are adequately informed, instructed, trained and supervised.
  • Do not position yourself near a truck that is actively dumping, or near a truck while it is raising its bed.
  • Ensure that the tailgate is unlocked before elevating the cargo box to the dump position.
  • Do not attempt to dump the material if it sticks in the bed.  Stuck material can imbalance the load and affect the stability of the truck. Always deflate trailer air springs prior to raising the dump body.

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

On October 9, 2016, a 61 year old Equipment Operator, with 3 years of experience, was fatally injured at a sand surface mine. The victim was attempting to attach a screen plant to a front-end loader by hooking them together with a steel cable when the equipment moved pinning the victim. The victim was later discovered injured and leaning against the loader bucket. The victim died of his injuries the following day.

Best Practices

  • Never position yourself between mobile equipment and a stationary object. Always be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that have the ability to move.
  • Ensure that line of sight, background noise, or other conditions do not interfere with communication.
  • Ensure miners are adequately trained for the task they are performing.
  • Use a tow bar with adequate length and proper rating when towing heavy equipment.
  • Make yourself more visible by wearing brightly-colored clothing or clothing that is distinguishable from surroundings.
  • Operate all machinery in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating guidelines.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), The investigation will not be posted.

On December 19, 2016, a 62-year old Front-end Loader Operator with 6 years of mining experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel surface mine. The victim was engulfed by sand when entered a hopper to remove a blockage.

Best Practices

  • Task train persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.
  • Train miners in safe work procedures and hazard recognition, specifically when clearing blocked hoppers.
  • Ensure employees use proper housekeeping procedures in order to avoid extraneous trash from inadvertently entering feed hoppers.
  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing hoppers.
  • Equip hoppers with mechanical devices, grates/grizzlies or other effective means of handling material so persons are not required to work where they are exposed to entrapment by sliding material.
  • Before working on or near equipment, ensure that the discharge operating controls are deenergized and locked out and ensure that material cannot discharge when the feeder is not activated.
  • Wear a safety harness and lanyard, which is securely anchored and tended by another person, prior to entering bins, hoppers, tanks, or silos.

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

m07-08On June 3, 2016, a 24-year old haul truck operator, with 9 months of experience, and a 56-year old hydraulic excavator operator, with 6 years of experience, were killed at a sand and gravel operation.  The two miners were working in a pit next to an abandoned roadway embankment, which partially bound an old pit.  Waste clay and sand had been placed in the old pit for reclamation purposes.  The embankment failed and the tailings and slurry engulfed both miners.

Best Practices

  • Make sure that embankments containing ponds of water, tailings, processing waste, or other fluids are designed and constructed to be stable, and that mining operations are kept a safe distance away.
  • Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment to recognize hazards associated with the impoundment, such as surface cracks or piping, and to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease stability before beginning work.
  • Embankments adjoining workplaces and travelways should be examined weekly or more often if changing ground conditions warrant.
  • Adverse weather, such as heavy rain, may introduce or increase hazardous conditions associated with impoundments, highwalls, and embankments. Workplace examinations should be increased when these hazards are present to recognize changing conditions.
  • Before beginning work, conduct a workplace exam from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest) of ground conditions that could create a hazard to persons and repair, support or remove if found immediately.  Correct hazardous conditions by working from a safe location.

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).

On February 26, 2016, a truck driver delivering multiple sections of polyurethane pipe was struck by a section of pipe during the unloading process. A forklift removed two sections of pipe from the passenger side of the truck, and then left the area with the two sections. While the forklift was away, a single, unsecured section of pipe rolled off on the driver’s side of the truck and struck the victim. Each section of pipe was approximately 50’ long and weighed approximately 1,750 pounds. Miners began first aid but the driver was unresponsive. He was transported to the local hospital and later died.

Best Practices

  • Analyze all tasks, identify possible hazards prior and eliminate the risks prior to beginning work.
  • Before beginning work, establish safe work procedures, train and discuss with all persons performing the task.
  • Examine work areas during the shift for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Evaluate the stability of the material before unfastening a load. Pay particular attention to loads that may have shifted or become unstable during transport.
  • Install secondary supports (side stakes) of adequate height and strength to prevent material from falling when the load is unfastened; or prior to unfastening the material, secure the item being unloaded to the machine used in the unloading process.
  • Stand clear of items of massive weights having the potential of becoming off-balanced while being loaded or unloaded.
  • Implement measures to ensure persons are properly positioned and protected from hazards while performing a task. Ground personnel should be highly visible. Unauthorized persons should be kept clear of the area.

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

m13On August 3, 2015, a 64-year old miner with 44 weeks experience was killed at a sand and gravel mine. The victim was operating a front-end loader, loading trucks from a stockpile, when he exited the loader. While outside the loader, the approximate 35-foot high stockpile slope failed and engulfed the victim between the stockpile and the loader.

Best Practices

  • Ensure that miners are adequately trained in determining the stability of a stockpile. Any unconsolidated material sloped above its natural angle of repose is, by definition, UNSTABLE and potentially DANGEROUS.
  • Ensure that equipment on site has the capability to trim stockpiles safely.
  • Ensure that equipment is parked in a safe location before exiting the vehicle.
  • Ensure adequate work place examinations are performed and promptly correct hazardous conditions that adversely affect safety and health.

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

m12On July 10, 2015, a 50-year old Superintendent with 26 years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel dredge operation.  Two miners were attempting to dislodge the clam shell bucket from the bottom of the pond when the dredge capsized. One miner was injured but was able to swim to shore and summon assistance. The victim was recovered eight days later.

Best Practices

  • Always wear a life jacket where there is a danger of falling into the water.
  • Ensure that machinery components are blocked against hazardous stored energy prior to performing maintenance or repairs.
  • Task train all persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and ensure they understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards before beginning work.
  • Examine and test all safety devices on a regular basis and ensure that they are operating properly.
  • When non-routine tasks or problems occur, conduct a risk analysis before starting the task to ensure that all hazards are evaluated and eliminated.

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