Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Fall-of-Persons at Shaft
fall-of-person accident occurred on October 27, 2001, at a mine
in District 8. The victim was a welder employed by an independent
contractor who was reinforcing the cage and counterweight
structure at the mine's man-and-material intake airshaft.
Immediately prior to the accident, the welder had positioned
himself inside the cage to weld on a vertical corner brace. After
completing his work on the inside of the cage, he disconnected
his lanyard to reposition himself to the outside of the corner
brace. While moving to the outside of the cage, he fell before he
had reconnected his safety lanyard. This caused him to fall back
against the concrete shaft collar and then into the airshaft. He
landed on the counterweight guide and shaft brace structure
approximately ten feet below the shaft collar. He was found
holding onto the counterweight guide with his arms with his body
extending down the shaft by one of his two coworkers.
The first coworker summoned help while the second
coworker tied himself off with his safety belt and a one-inch
rope. The first coworker and four mine employees then lowered the
second coworker into the shaft. The second coworker secured the
victim by tying a rope to his harness and upper torso. The miners
then pulled the victim out of the shaft by the attached rope.
First aid was administered and the victim was transported to a
local hospital and then airlifted to another medical center for
surgery. The victim suffered a broken left femur, and abrasions
and contusions to the right side of his body. Total recovery time
of the accident victim was about 33 minutes.
- Always use safety harnesses with two lanyards. When changing
positions, secure the second lanyard before disconnecting the
- Plan repositioning moves ahead of time to eliminate the need
for disconnecting lanyards.
- An additional tie-off should be used when working from
This information was provided by concerned
miners in an effort to eliminate accidents. Accident or "close
call" information within District 8 may be shared by contacting
the MSHA office at (812) 882-7617.