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Fatalities Hit Industry in December


Three fatalities struck the aggregates industry in the month of December. On Dec. 4, a 63-year-old lead man with 16 years of experience was killed at a crushed stone mine. The victim initiated a blast and was struck by flyrock from the blast. He was standing 153 ft. from the nearest blast hole and was struck by rock as large as 19-in. long by 14-in. wide by 7-in. thick.

This was the 19th fatality reported in calendar year 2013 in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the fourth Explosives-and-Breaking-Agents fatality in 2013. There were zero Explosives-and-Breaking-Agents fatalities in the same period in 2012.

MSHA recommends these best practices to plant operators:

  • Establish and 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 persons. Task train all persons in safe work procedures.
  • Maintain and use all available methods of communication, such as sirens and radios, to warn persons of an impending blast. Establish methods to ensure that all persons are out of the blasting area.
  • Guard or barricade all access routes to the blasting area to prevent the passage of persons or vehicles.
  • Before firing a blast, give ample warning to allow all persons to be evacuated.
  • Clear and remove all persons from the blasting area unless suitable blasting shelters are provided to protect persons from flyrock.
  • Verify that the blasting procedures are effective and being followed at all times.

On Dec. 13, a 53-year-old utility worker with 19 years of experience was killed at a sand mine. The victim was standing near the edge of a bank when it collapsed engulfing him.

This was the 21st fatality reported in calendar year 2013 in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the fourth Falling/Sliding-Material fatality in 2013. There were two Falling/Sliding Material fatalities in the same period in 2012.

  • MSHA recommends these best practices to plant operators:
  • Establish and 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 persons.
  • Task train all persons to recognize all potential hazardous conditions that can decrease bank or slope stability and ensure they understand safe job procedures for elimination of the hazards.
  • Evaluate all pit, highwall, slope, and bank conditions daily. Be especially vigilant for these conditions after each rain, freeze, or thaw.
  • Slope trenches back at a stable angle or install shoring when working in and around trenches.
  • Correct hazardous conditions by working from a safe location.

On Dec. 10, a 27-year-old deck hand with four years, eight months of experience drowned at a dredge operation. He was working on a dredge that had a barge attached to it. The victim stepped on the barge and fell into the water.

This is the 22nd fatality reported in calendar year 2013 in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the first Other (Drowning) fatality in 2013. There were zero Other (Drowning) fatalities in the same period in 2012.

  • MSHA recommends these best practices to plant operators:
  • 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.
  • Always wear a life jacket where there is a danger of falling into the water.
  • Remove snow and ice from work areas.
  • Ensure safe access is provided where persons are required to work or travel. Maintain three points of contact.
  • Install and use lifeline tie-off runs and fall protection.
  • Provide communication devices and establish procedures requiring persons to alert coworkers when they are outside the dredge’s handrails.

As of the above dates in 2012, there were 16 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining.