Fatality Alert: Truck driver killed while attempting to adjust brakes with engine running

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), on Sept. 16, 2020, a truck driver at a New Jersey sand and gravel operation attempted to adjust the brakes on his tri-axle truck while the engine was running, the automatic transmission was in drive, and the parking brake was not set. The truck moved forward and fatally injured the victim. The fatality marks the 17th of 2020 and is classified as Powered Haulage.

MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents: 

  • Before exiting, place the transmission in park, set the parking brake, turn off the engine, and activate the hazard warning lights.
  • Block equipment against motion and place high visibility cones or other flagging or signage to caution oncoming traffic before working on equipment.
  • Maintain equipment braking systems and repair and adjustment as necessary.
  • Conduct pre-operational examinations using qualified personnel to identify and repair defects that may affect the safe operation of equipment before it is placed into service.
  • Train miners on site-specific hazards.

Fatality Alert: Material Shifts on Miner Clearing Crusher

On August 18, 2020, a miner was killed while attempting to clear a material blockage. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the miner entered the cone crusher to begin work when the material shifted and engulfed him. He was extracted from the crusher and taken to a hospital, where he died the next day. This fatality, the 13th of the year, was classified as “Fall of Material.”

MSHA suggests the following best practices:

  • Properly design chutes and crushers to prevent blockages. Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of material and prevent clogging.
  • Equip chutes with mechanical devices such as vibrating shakers or air cannons to loosen blockages, or provide other effective means of handling material, so miners are not exposed to entrapment hazards by falling or sliding material.
  • Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing crushers.
  • Train miners to recognize and safely remove all potential hazards before beginning work and when clearing blocked crushers.

Material handling accident triggers third fatality of the year

On Feb. 27, 2020, a miner died when an unsecured 20-foot x 8-foot x 1-inch steel plate standing on edge fell and struck him. The steel plate was being used to cover the end of a feeder to allow an equipment operator to build an earthen ramp to the feeder, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) reports. The material handling accident marks the third fatality of 2020.

MSHA recommends the following best practices

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work.
  • Identify and control all hazards.
  • Task train everyone on safe job procedures and to stay clear of suspended loads.
  • Require all workers to stay out of the fall path of heavy objects/materials that have the potential of becoming off-balance while in a raised position.
  • Monitor routinely to confirm safe work procedures are followed.
  • Be aware of your environment. Factors such as wind, snow, and icy surfaces can affect the stability of an object.
  • When securing an object, identify the location of its center of gravity.

Fatality Alert: Mechanic dies performing maintenance

MSHA issued a fatality alert regarding a lockout/tagout incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Fatality Alert for LafargeHolcim’s Holly Hill Facility in Orangeburg County, S.C. A contract maintenance mechanic was performing elevator maintenance when the car descended, crushing the mechanic against an elevator platform. The person died at the scene on Dec. 3, 2019.

MSHA offers the following best practices to help prevent this type of accident:

  1. De-energize, lock out and tag out, and block machinery or equipment that can injure miners – before entering the area.
  2. Post warning signs or barricades to keep miners out of areas where health or safety hazards exist.
  3. Install an audible alarm to warn of impending equipment movement.
  4. Evaluate and correct possible hazards promptly before working.
  5. Train personnel in safely using handrails and fall protection equipment during maintenance and construction activities. Ensure their use.

This is the 22nd fatality reported in 2019, and the seventh fatality classified as Machinery.