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MSHA Completes Two Fatality Investigations

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) completed two investigations related to fatalities that occurred in September.

On Sept. 16, 2013, David A. Gully, truck driver, 58, was killed after the haul truck he was operating went over a highwall. Gully was operating the haul truck on the haul road out of the pit to the primary crusher. He was employed by Huntsville Quarry, a surface limestone operation, owned and operated by Con-Agg of MO, LLC located near Huntsville, Mo.

On the day of the accident, Gully was taking his fourteenth load of broken rock to the primary crusher. While traveling out of the pit, Gully maneuvered his truck through a 90-degree left turn at the top of incline #2 and started up incline #1. The truck then crossed the haul road from right to left, traveled through the berm on the left edge of the roadway, and went over the highwall. The truck traveled down the face of the highwall and flipped before coming to rest on bench #2. Gully was not wearing the seat belt provided in the haul truck and was ejected from the cab.

According to MSHA, the accident occurred due to management’s failure to install and maintain sufficient berms along the edge of the haul road. MSHA said Gully did not maintain control of the truck and the truck traveled through the berm. Additionally, he was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the haul truck, which contributed to the severity of his injuries.

On Sept. 18, 2013, Lonnie Ferrill, front-end loader operator, 56, was killed when he was engulfed by material in a pug mill hopper. He worked at the Caldwell Quarry, owned and operated by Gaddie-Shamrock LLC, Clinton County, Ky.

On the day of the accident, Ferrill began his shift about 5:15 a.m. Ferrill started all the mobile equipment planned to be operated for the shift. After that, he went to the office break room and talked with Danny Abston, foreman.

At 6:00 a.m., Ferrill began loading crushed rock from a stockpile into the hopper using a front-end loader. Ferrill continued to load material into the hopper until about 1:00 p.m., when he got off the front-end loader and entered the hopper where he was buried by stone.

According to MSHA, the accident occurred due to management’s failure to establish policies and procedures for safely clearing a hopper. The hopper’s discharge operating controls were not deenergized and locked out before Ferrill worked on or near equipment and he did not wear a safety harness and lanyard, which was securely anchored and tended by another person, prior to entering the hopper.

The hopper did not have a heavy screen (grizzly) installed to control the size of material and prevent clogging. Additionally, the hopper was not equipped with any mechanical devices or other effective means of handling material so persons can work where they are not exposed to entrapment by sliding material. Ferrill was not task trained to recognize all potential hazardous conditions and to understand safe job procedures to eliminate all of the hazards before he began work on the hopper.