DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Rocky Mountain District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE METAL MINE
FATAL POWERED HAULAGE ACCIDENT
White Mesa Mill
I.D. No. 42-01429 A7C
Energy Trucking, Inc. (Contractor)
Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc. (Owner)
Blanding, San Juan County, Utah
October 9, 1995
Richard R. Laufenberg
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Arthur L. Ellis
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
P.O. Box 25367 DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367
Robert M. Friend
Ivan F. Dial, contract truck driver, age 57, was fatally injured at about 11:05 p.m., on October 9, 1995, and died at 12:35 a.m., on October 10, 1995. He was run over by the driver's side (left) out-rigger tire of the tractor he had been operating to dump his semi-trailer. The victim had a total of 5 years 7 months mining experience, 5 years at this mine, 1 year 7 months with this contractor, all as a truck driver.
The MSHA, Rocky Mountain District Office in Denver, Colorado, was notified of the accident at 12:10 a.m., on October 10, 1995, by a telephone call from Donald K. Sparling, manager of uranium processing. An investigation was started the same day.
The White Mesa Mill, a uranium processing plant, owned and operated by Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc., of Denver, Colorado, was located on U.S. Highway 163 approximately 7 miles south of Blanding, San Juan County, Utah. The operation consisted of a truck weighing station, ore stockpile yard, crushing and milling plant, and tailings disposal system.
Principal operating officials for Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc. were:
Harold Roberts, President
Donald K. Sparling, Manager of Uranium Processing
Scott L. Schierman, Radiation Protection Officer
A total of 95 persons was employed by Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc. working three, 8-hour shifts a day, 7 days a week.
Energy Trucking, Inc., of Hildale, Washington County, Utah, was the ore contract hauler at this operation. Christine Cox, president, was the principal operating official.
Energy Trucking, Inc. employed 15 truck drivers that hauled ore 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the White Mesa Mill. The victim was the only contractor employee on mine property at the time of the accident.
Uranium ore was hauled by the contractor from a stockpile located approximately 260 miles away, near Kanab, Utah. The ore was then crushed and milled to extract uranium oxide concentrate, commonly called yellowcake.
Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc. had an MSHA-approved training plan
under 30 CFR, Part 48. The last regular inspection of this
operation was conducted September 22, 1995.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
The vehicle involved in the accident was a 1972 White-Western Star tractor that had been modified (by Vickers of Salt Lake City, Utah) to dump end-dump semi trailers. It was equipped with a manual transmission and clutch. The factory-installed service brakes were air-activated drum/shoe type and the parking brakes were spring-activated drum/shoe type that required air pressure to release. The modified part of the tractor was the hydraulic lifting mechanism for dumping end-dump semi-trailers. The system included an out-rigger on each side of the tractor, mounted just behind the cab, which was equipped with a 10.00 R20 tire on the end of each out-rigger. The out-riggers protruded from the side of the tractor approximately 31- inches when in the down position.
The area southwest of the stockpile where the victim was found was on an approximate 6% grade. The area where the victim had parked his trailer for dumping was on relatively level ground.
After the accident, Dial's 1984 Freightliner tractor was found parked at the bottom of the slope. His 1974 Timpte end-dump trailer, which was not equipped with a dumping mechanism, was empty and parked at the stockpile.
Three employees arriving at the accident scene stated that the White-Western Star tractor engine was running with the transmission in the neutral position. The parking brake was not set. The tractor had rolled approximately 68-feet from the Timpte trailer and came to a stop next to the Freightliner tractor parked at the bottom of the slope. The right side out-rigger tire was approximately 4-inches from the left rear dual wheels of the Freightliner tractor. An employee entered the cab of the White-Western Star tractor to secure the vehicle by turning off the engine, placing the transmission in gear, and setting the parking brake.
Examination and testing of the White-Western Star tractor
revealed that the parking brake was capable of holding the
tractor on the 6% grade with the parking brake set. No defects
in the parking brake system were found.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Ivan F. Dial, contract truck driver, arrived at the White Mesa Mill at about 10:50 p.m., with a load of ore. Lois Scheer, scale operator, opened the access gate and weighed Dial's truck. Dial scanned himself for radiation in the scale house while Kay Durette, scale operator, cut the security tags from his trailer. He left the scale house to unload his trailer.
At the start of the night shift (11:00 p.m.), Daniel P. Thobe, grind operator, assigned to operate a front-end loader, was on his way to the scale house to see if there were any ore stockpiles that needed to be pushed. On his way he observed two tractors parked next to each other near the bottom of the slope. As he drove closer to the tractors he saw a man laying flat on his back near the rear of the White-Western Star tractor.
Thobe proceeded to the scale house where he informed Scheer and Durette that he thought a driver had been injured in the yard. Scheer, Durette and Thobe went to where the man was lying and identified Dial as the injured person. Durette radioed Wilson Bennett, shift foreman, and informed him that a truck driver had been run over. Bennett instructed Durette to call an ambulance. Michael A. Spillman, shift foreman, and Isaac Vigil, maintenance mechanic, were in the mill shift office with Bennett when Durette called. They immediately went to the accident site.
Bennett and Spillman checked for vital signs and found that Dial was not breathing. However, a weak pulse was detected. Bennett checked the airway and found it blocked with dentures. The dentures were removed and Bennett and Spillman started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). After approximately 5 minutes of CPR, Dial started to breath on his own at which time CPR was stopped.
The San Juan County ambulance arrived at about 11:25 p.m., and transported Dial to Blanding Medical Center. Dial was pronounced dead on October 10, 1995, at 12:35 a.m., by Dr. Lloyd Bell Jones.
The cause of death was due to abdominal and pelvic crushing.
The direct cause of the accident was the failure to set the
parking brake and to chock the wheels on the White-Western Star
tractor while it was parked on a grade and left unattended. A
contributing factor was that the victim had not received adequate
training in the procedures of operating the modified tractor.
The following order was issued to Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc.
Order No. 4667121, 103 (k)
Issued 10/10/95, at 1626 hours.
A fatal accident occurred in the truck/ore dump area. This order is being issued to secure the site to ensure the safety of persons on the mine property. This order shall remain in effect until a site investigation is completed by MSHA investigators.
Terminated 10/13/95, at 0755 hours.
Order No. 4667121 is terminated in that MSHA has completed its accident investigation of a fatal injury.
The following citations were issued to Energy Trucking Inc.
Citation No. 4665206, 104 (a)
Issued 10/12/95, at 0800 hours for a violation of CFR 30, Part 48.26.
On 10/9/95 at about 2305 hours, a fatal accident occurred to a contractor employee. The victim had been operating the contractor's trailer dumper. He had not received the mandatory newly employed experienced miner training as required by CFR 30, Part 48.26.
Terminated 10/12/95, at 0905 hours.
Citation No. 4665207, 104 (a)
Issued 10/12/95, at 0810 hours for a violation of CFR 30, Part 56.14207.
On 10/9/95, at about 2305 hours, a fatal accident occurred when a contractor employee was run over by the trailer dumper he was operating. The trailer dumper was parked on a grade and left unattended without the parking brake set or wheels chocked. The transmission was in the neutral position and the engine running. The trailer dumper rolled down the grade and the driver side outrigger wheel ran over the employee resulting in a fatal injury.
Terminated 10/20/95, at 1145 hours.
Respectfully submitted by:
/s/ Richard R. Laufenberg
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
/s/ Arthur L. Ellis Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Robert M. Friend
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: