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Southeastern District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health


Mine I.D. No. 09-01059
Buffalo China Clays Company
ECC International
Sandersville, Washington County, Georgia

January 10, 1995


C. R. McMillian
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector


C. D. Cox
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Martin Rosta, District Manager


James Thomas McAdams, shift leadman, age 51, was fatally injured at approximately 7:30 a.m. on January 10, 1995, when a truck backed over him while he was spotting trucks at a dumping location. The victim had a total of 30 years mining experience, all with this company.

MSHA's Macon field office was notified of the accident at 8:05 a.m. on January 10, 1995, by a telephone call from E. Stewart Martin, Safety and Health Manager of ECC International. An investigation was started the same day .

The Buffalo China Clays Company, an open pit multi-bench kaolin mine, owned and operated by ECC International, was located adjacent to State Highway 24, about 10 miles west of Sandersville, Washington County, Georgia. The principal operating official was Dennis Rediker, president. The mine normally operated three, 8-hour shifts a day, 7 days a week. A total of 30 persons was employed.

Backhoes were used at various pits to extract kaolin which was then stockpiled with trucks and dozers. The stockpiled kaolin was then transported by over-the-road trucks to the plant where it was processed by milling, drying, and calcining. The processed material was stored in bulk bins for bagging or bulk shipment to customers in the paper industry.

The last regular inspection was conducted on October 5 and 6, 1994. MSHA is prohibited by Congressionally imposed budget restrictions from enforcing the training requirements of 30 CFR, Part 48 at this operation. A review of company records indicated the victim had received annual refresher training.


On the day of the accident kaolin clay was being hauled over a public roadway from the Homes pit to the Number 6 Blunger, where the clay blended with water. The haul road to the Number 6 Blunger dump area was 5 minutes from the Homes pit and extended approximately 250 yards from a county road and ended in a "T". Trucks drove up the haul road, turned 90 degrees left into a turnaround area, backed approximately 40 yards, dumped, pulled forward, then turned 90 degrees to the left and onto the road again for the return trip to the loading site. The clay was then pushed by a bulldozer close to the blunger and fed by a backhoe into the milling process.

The dump area was wide enough to accommodate 1 haulage truck. Although a second truck was not always present, it was a common practice at this operation to have one truck dumping while a second truck waited at the other end of the "T". When the first truck pulled away from the dump, onto the haul road, the second truck would begin backing to the dump location. It had rained prior to the accident and the conditions at the dump site were soft, wet, and slippery. Terrain at the dump site was relatively flat with no drop offs. At the time of the accident, a bulldozer was pushing wet clay at the dump area to widen the intersection.

The truck involved in the accident was a tractor and dump trailer. The Mack Truck tractor was a model RD6905, serial number 1M1P264Y1PM011684, company number 255. The tractor had 2 west coast mirrors mounted with lower convex mirrors. The dump trailer capacity was 25 tons with a single hydraulic lift cylinder. The trailer was equipped with 285/75/R24.5 tires. The overall length of the tractor and dump trailer was 41 feet, 9 inches. The truck had a functional backup alarm at the time of the accident and there were no apparent safety defects. The unit was owned by C. T. Harris, Incorporated, a contract hauler.


On the day of the accident, James Thomas McAdams, shift leadman, reported for work at about 6:15 a.m., his normal starting time. He met with Hubert Dent, plant 2 mines supervisor, and discussed conditions of the pit and plant, and work assignments. C. T. Harris, Jr., owner of the contract haul truck company, phoned and said that the haul trucks were having trouble because of the wet conditions at the Number 6 Blunger dump area . McAdams told Dent that he would check on it.

At about 7:00 a.m., McAdams met Harris at the Number 6 Blunger dump site where they discussed the wet conditions. Harris left the dump site and McAdams walked to where Scott Thompson, blunger operator, was using the bulldozer to widen the intersection and clear the road. McAdams and Thompson talked briefly. McAdams then walked to the dump area, and as the trucks entered the area, he began directing them with hand signals. At the same time, he was signaling directions to the dozer operator. Work progressed normally and McAdams directed two trucks which entered and left the dump area.

At approximately 7:30 a.m., a third truck entered the area, backed to the dump site, dumped the load, and inched forward as the driver waited for the dozer to move out of the way. A fourth truck, driven by Eugene Barnes, had entered the upper part of the "T", stopped and waited for the third truck to clear the area before backing up to dump. McAdams walked over to the Barnes' truck and stood with his back to it, directly behind the left rear wheels. While McAdams was watching the third truck and the bulldozer, Barnes checked his mirrors and when he saw the other truck had cleared the intersection, he started to back up and ran over the victim. It could not be determined why McAdams failed to respond to the back-up alarm. Help was summoned and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later by the county coroner. The coroner attributed death to severe body trauma.


The cause of the accident was the failure of the victim to stand clear of the truck he had been spotting and the failure of the truck driver to observe the location of the spotter prior to backing up the vehicle. Contributing to the accident may have been the lack of communication between the victim and the truck drivers to establish safe procedures for spotting trucks.


ECC International

Citation No. 3599861 was issued on January 12, 1995 under the provisions of Section 104(a) for violation of Standard 56.9305(a):

A fatal accident occurred on January 10, 1995 when a shift leadman was crushed by the rear wheels of a haulage truck. The victim had been directing traffic and supervising road repairs at a dump location when he failed to stand clear of a truck backing into dumping position.

This citation was terminated on January 12, 1995. The requirements of the standard were discussed with and understood by company representatives. It was stated that it would be further discussed with the other employees.
C. T. Harris, Incorporated

Citation No. 3599862 was issued on January 12, 1995 under the provisions of Section 104(a) for violation of Standard 56.9305(c):

An accident resulting in a fatality occurred on January 10, 1995 when a truck operator did not know the location of the shift leadmen and backed the truck over the victim. The victim had been standing directly behind the haul truck directing traffic and supervising road repair.

This citation was terminated on January 12, 1995. The requirements of the standard were discussed with and understood by company representatives. It was stated that it would be further discussed with the other employees.

Respectively submitted by:

/s/ Clyde R. McMillian

Clyde R. McMillian
Supervisory Mine Inspector

/s/ Charles D. Cox

Charles D. Cox
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by:

Martin Rosta, District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB95M02]