According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), on August 2, 2014, a 53-year-old plant operator with 25 years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel plant. The victim was working under the raised bed of a dump truck when the wooden block supporting the load suddenly failed, allowing the bed to fall and pin him. The victim was working alone and was not found until 10 a.m. on August 3, 2014.
MSHA recommends the following best practices:
- 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.
- Ensure that persons are trained, including task-training, to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.
- Before working on equipment, block all raised components against hazardous motion and ensure persons are positioned in a safe location.
- Follow the safe work procedures provided by the manufacturer when performing all maintenance or repair work. If provided, always use the manufacturer’s provided safety device or features for securing components against hazardous motion.
- Ensure that blocking material is competent, substantial, and adequate to support and stabilize the load. Blocking must be strong enough and secured to prevent any unintended movement.
- Never block with steel on steel or depend on hydraulics to support a load. Mechanical blocking can be achieved by installing a hinged prop leg.
- Do not assign a person to work alone in areas where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger his or her safety.
This is the 17th fatality reported in calendar year 2014 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2013, there were nine fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the third Falling Material fatality in 2014. There were two Falling Material fatalities in the same period in 2013.