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MSHA Reports Two Fatalities in May

MSHA is reporting two fatalities in the metal/nonmetal sector in the month of May. On May 15, 2012, a 37-year-old haul truck driver with approximately 2.5 years of experience was killed at an underground crushed stone operation. The victim was operating a loaded articulated haul truck down a slope when the truck went out of control and struck a rib. The tractor of the truck (cab) overturned. The victim was found outside of the cab and had been run over by the truck.

MSHA recommends the following best practices:

  • Ensure that mobile equipment operators are task trained adequately and demonstrate proficiency in all phases of mobile equipment operation before performing work.
  • Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and ensure the service brakes are properly maintained and will stop and hold the mobile equipment prior to operating.
  • Operators of self-propelled mobile equipment shall maintain control of the equipment while it is in motion.
  • Operating speeds shall be consistent with conditions of roadways, tracks, grades, clearance, visibility, curves, and traffic.
  • Ensure that equipment manufacturer's load limits are not exceeded.
  • Slow down or drop to a lower gear when necessary. Post areas where lower speeds are warranted.
  • Always wear a seat belt when operating self-propelled mobile equipment.
  • Ensure that equipment operators maintain adequate communications.

This is the sixth fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries.

On May 23, a 36-year-old foreman with about 9.5 years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel operation. He was operating an excavator on a dike separating two ponds. The ground beneath the excavator tracks failed and the excavator toppled into one of the ponds.

MSHA recommends the following best practices:

  • Examine work areas to identify all hazards and remediate before starting any work.
  • Evaluate the stability of the ground (slopes and berms) prior to operating equipment near any drop off or edge.
  • Always be attentive to changes in ground conditions and visibility when operating machinery.
  • Perform the work at a safe distance away from the edge of a pond or where the stability of the ground may be unknown.
  • If a potential hazard is present, use long reach equipment to limit exposure and maintain a safe distance away.
  • Consider areas that have experienced previous slope failures to be unstable and do not approach until the area is evaluated for stability.
  • Wear flotation devices where there is a danger of falling into water.
  • Be alert to changes in ground conditions such as cracking, bulging, sloughing, undercutting and erosion.

This is the seventh fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal/nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there were five fatalities reported in these industries.