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Two Killed at Sand and Gravel Operation


On June 3, a 24-year old haul-truck operator, with nine months of experience, and a 56-year old hydraulic-excavator operator, with six years of experience, were killed at Green Brothers Gravel Co. Inc.'s Harmony Mine & Mill in Mississippi.

The two miners were working in a pit next to an abandoned roadway embankment, which partially bound an old pit. Waste clay and sand had been placed in the old pit for reclamation purposes. The embankment failed and the tailings and slurry engulfed both miners.

These are the seventh and eighth fatalities reported in calendar year 2016 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2015, there were eight fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. They are the first and second fatalities classified as Inundation in 2016. There were no Inundation accident classification fatalities in the same period in 2015

Best Practices

  • Make sure that embankments containing ponds of water, tailings, processing waste, or other fluids are designed and constructed to be stable, and that mining operations are kept a safe distance away.
  • Provide hazard training to all personnel working on or near an impoundment to recognize hazards associated with the impoundment, such as surface cracks or piping, and to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease stability before beginning work.
  • Embankments adjoining workplaces and travelways should be examined weekly or more often if changing ground conditions warrant.
  • Adverse weather, such as heavy rain, may introduce or increase hazardous conditions associated with impoundments, highwalls, and embankments. Workplace examinations should be increased when these hazards are present to recognize changing conditions.
  • Before beginning work, conduct a workplace exam from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest) of ground conditions that could create a hazard to persons and repair, support or remove if found immediately. Correct hazardous conditions by working from a safe location.