ftl2014m13On June 2, 2014, a 36-year-old shaft repairman with 18 years of experience was killed at an underground silver mine. Two miners were working in a shaft standing on a work platform attached to a skip. The skip was hoisted and the victim was crushed between the skip and the shaft timber.

Best Practices

  • Develop and implement a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the safe operation of hoists. Post these procedures near the hoist control panels in a conspicuous location and ensure persons are trained in these procedures.
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.
  • Identify safe anchor points for fall protection and train all persons to understand the hazards related to fall protection and hoisting operations.
  • Communicate work activities prior to beginning a task and maintain communications throughout the shift.
  • Install audible and visual alarms which have adequate delay time to ensure persons are clear of impending hoist movement.
  • Ensure all miners are accounted for before movement of the hoist.
  • Conduct thorough examinations of all hoisting equipment and safety mechanisms on a daily basis. Ensure that persons conducting these examinations are trained adequately. Correct any deficiencies identified immediately.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

ftl2013m1617On November 17, 2013, a 33-year old powderman trainee with 5 weeks of experience and a 59-year old shift supervisor with 36 years of experience were killed at a silver mine. The two miners were in an area of the mine where explosives had been detonated the day before. Other miners working in the area were able to evacuate. Mine rescue teams entered the mine, found the two victims, and brought them to the surface. During the recovery operation, rescue teams detected fatal levels of carbon monoxide. Twenty miners were taken to the hospital and three were kept overnight.

Best Practices

  • Conduct effective workplace examinations. Identify all hazards and take action to correct them.
  • Ensure all active working areas are ventilated prior to allowing miners to work in those areas.
  • Monitor gasses as frequently as necessary to determine the adequacy of control measures.
  • Use properly maintained and calibrated gas detection instruments with alarms for concentrations outside of safe limits that are audible and visual.
  • Ensure all miners are trained to recognize all potential hazards and emergency procedures, including evacuation procedures.
  • Dispose of damaged or deteriorated explosive material in a safe manner in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer.

Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf)

On November 17, 2011, a 26 year-old contract underground miner with 3½ years of experience was seriously injured in a silver mine. He died at a hospital on November 19, 2011. The victim and a coworker were attempting to dislodge muck in a bin excavation when the muck they were standing on started to flow. The victim was wearing a safety harness attached to a self-retracting lanyard; however, the lanyard extended and did not lock before he became engulfed. The other miner was freed immediately, treated, and released from the hospital.

Best Practices
 

  • Wear a safety harness and attach it to a securely anchored lanyard, where there is a danger of falling.
  • In applications where the danger is not limited to a free-fall, do not use lanyards that depend on free-fall speed to lock. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Ensure that persons working on material in bins, silos, hoppers, tanks, and surge piles are properly tied-off, with one line tender per person. No persons should enter the facility until the supply and discharge equipment are locked out.
  • Establish policies and procedures for safely clearing muck in a bin excavation and ensure that persons follow these safe procedures.
  • Ensure that persons are task-trained and understand the hazards associated with the work being performed and the proper use of their personal protective equipment.
Click here for: MSHA Preliminary Report (pdf), MSHA Investigation Report (pdf), Overview (powerpoint), Overview (pdf).

On April 15, 2011, a 53 year- old miner with 26 years of experience was killed at an underground silver operation. He was wetting a muck pile in a stope when a fall of back, approximately 90 feet long, struck him.

Best Practices

  • Design, install, and maintain a support system to control the ground in places where persons work or travel.
  • Examine and test ground conditions in areas where work is to be performed prior to work commencing and as ground conditions warrant during the shift.
  • When ground conditions create a hazard to persons, install additional ground support before other work is permitted in the affected area.
  • Analyze extraction ratios and backfill methods and characteristics to improve stability.
  • Be alert to any change of ground conditions.

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

On June 18, 2010, a 29 year-old contract miner with 6 years of experience was fatally injured at an underground silver mine. The victim was scaling loose ground in a stope when he was struck by falling material approximately 3½ feet long by 2½ feet wide by 2 feet thick.

Best Practices

  • Examine, sound, and test for loose ground in areas before starting to work, after blasting, and as ground conditions warrant.
  • Train all persons to scale loose material safely.
  • Communicate unsafe ground conditions to all affected miners.
  • Perform manual scaling from a location which will not expose persons to injury from falling material.
  • When manually scaling, use scaling bars of a length and design that will allow the removal of loose material without exposing persons to the risk of injury.
  • Install ground support where conditions warrant.

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