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MSHA Reports Ninth Fatality of the Year


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reported that on Oct. 2, a 40-year-old miner with 20 years of experience was fatally injured when struck by stemming sand ejected from a borehole.

While conducting a blasting operation in a new vertical raise, a contract foreman was attempting to clean out a previously blasted vertical borehole with high-pressure air. A sudden release of energy forced stemming sand from the bottom of the borehole, striking the miner.

This is the ninth fatality reported in calendar year 2018 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2018, there were also nine fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining.

This is the first Exploding Vessels under Pressure fatality in 2018. There were no Exploding Vessels under Pressure fatalities during the same period in 2017.

MSHA recommends the following best practices to avoid this type of accident:

  • Assess the suitability of blasting methods when blasts do not perform as intended.
  • Use water to clean out the bottom of boreholes used for blasting.
  • Never position yourself directly over or in front of the collar of a borehole when cleaning it out.
  • Ensure miners are adequately task trained.