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UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION

Western District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE METAL MINE
FATAL POWERED HAULAGE ACCIDENT

Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc., ID No. 26-01089
Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc.
Carlin, Eureka County, Nevada

December 9, 1995

By

Edward E. Lopez
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Bobby R. Caples
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Western District Office
3333 Vaca Valley Parkway, Suite 600
Vacaville, California 95688
Fred M. Hansen
District Manager


GENERAL INFORMATION

Donald E. Brown, 34, a haul truck driver, was fatally injured December 9, 1995 at approximately 2:55 a.m. while operating a 190 ton end-dump haul truck. The victim had 12 years of mining experience. He had worked at this operation for 47 days and was in the final stages of training in the operation of haul trucks.

Garry Day, MSHA Western District Assistant Manager, was notified of the accident, December 9, by Charles Warner, Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. Loss Control Director. An investigation was started the same day.

The accident occurred at the Barrick Goldstrike Mine which was operated by Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. The mine was a surface gold operation located 28 miles north of Carlin, Eureka County, Nevada. Barrick Goldstrike operated two 12.5 hour shifts seven days a week. There were 1609 employees.

Principal operating officials at this property were:

Ron Johnson, General Manager
Terry Browning, Senior Director of Loss Control

The company trained their miners according to a plan approved by MSHA February 17, 1983 and updated January 24, 1995.

The last regular MSHA inspection of this property was completed December 6, 1995.

PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED

The diesel/electric haul truck involved in the accident was a 190 ton Dresser Haul Pak, Model 685E, Serial Number CF32301AFE43-A4. The company had designated it as haul truck "MD523."

The vehicle's rear wheels were driven by two 1000 hp electric motors. Power was supplied by either on-board generation or by a 1600 volt trolley system. The truck was equipped with a pantograph, an electrical trolley carried by a retractable frame, that was used to power the truck while it ascended the steep grades in the pit. The haul truck was purchased new on July 24, 1994, from Pioneer Equipment of Elko, Nevada. Its dimensions were 39 feet 2 inches long, 22 feet wide, and 21 feet 6 inches high.

Braking for the haul truck was provided by a dual system which included dynamic retarding and an all hydraulic actuation system.

There were no defects found in either system.

Full-time power steering provided positive control to the truck's operator. The system included nitrogen charged accumulators which automatically provided emergency power should the steering system's hydraulic pressure fall below an established minimum. No defects were found in the steering system.

The truck was equipped with an automatic fire suppression system.

Automatic activation was initiated by a battery operated control unit which was located in the cab behind the operator. This system utilized a monitoring wire in the engine compartment to detect a fire. When the temperature reached 365 degrees Fahrenheit the wire would signal the controller to discharge retardant into the engine compartment. The fire retardant could also be activated manually from inside the cab, or at ground level near the ladder to the cab.

Examination of the system revealed that it had discharged.

Maintenance records indicated the truck had received all necessary preventative maintenance. The records also confirmed that all reported defects had been repaired in a timely manner.

All defects reported prior to the accident had been corrected.

The dump pad, including the berms, had been monitored continuously prior to the accident by the operator of a rubber tired dozer assigned to the site. Inspection of the dump site after the accident revealed that the area, and associated berms, were within compliance standards. Night time illumination was also checked and found to be sufficient to support the work activities being conducted at the dump site. Two portable light plants were strategically placed to illuminate the edge of the dump. The individual pieces of mobile equipment were provided with driving lights that offered good illumination in all directions of travel.

Weather conditions were monitored at the dispatch station. At the time of the accident the sky was clear. The temperature was 40.3 degrees Fahrenheit, the barometer was at 25.047, and the dew point was 32.3. There had been no wind or rain recorded in the twenty-four hours preceding the accident.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT

Donald E. Brown arrived at the mine at 6:35 p.m., December 8, 1995. He received his shift assignment along with his time card and then attended a brief crew line-out meeting. After the meeting, he walked to his assigned haul truck, a 685E Dresser Haul Pack, designated by the company as "MD523." The truck, loaded by the previous driver, was at the ready line near the mine office. Brown logged on with the dispatcher and then conducted a pre-shift inspection of the truck. Having reported no defects to the dispatcher, Brown began hauling material.

The first trip Brown made was to the Bazza 5450 waste dump. He made this and one more trip before being joined by a training instructor. The instuctor had been assigned to ride with Brown for the purpose of monitoring his performance with the 685E haul truck. The trainer rode in the buddy seat until 11:10 p.m., about three hours, and then had Brown stop so they could discuss his driving performance. During the accident investigation, the trainer stated that Brown had progressed very well. He further stated that he had offered very few pointers, as Brown seemed comfortable operating the truck, and that most of the time had been spent discussing matters not directly related to the job.

Brown returned to operating the truck, without the trainer, at 12:00 a.m. He made two more trips before stopping for a thirty minute lunch break at 1:30 a.m. At 2:01 a.m., Brown was assigned to be loaded at the MA123 back hoe. He went to that location, where his truck was loaded and he was then directed to proceed to the Bazza 5450 waste dump. When Brown arrived at the waste dump there were two pieces of equipment in operation; Haul truck MD471 was in the process of dumping, and a rubber tire dozer was tending the dump. According to witnesses, Brown made a normal approach, circling near the edge of the dump to check the berm as he had been trained. He stopped about 100 feet from the edge and began backing the truck.

The driver of haul truck MD471 stated Brown was backing his truck straight toward his and thought he would be hit. Brown, however, turned his truck to the right and avoided a collision. after missing the other truck, he continued backing toward, and ultimately through, the berm type dump restraint.

The truck, once through the berm, rolled end over end approximately 210 feet down the steep embankment and came to rest on the driver's (left) side. A fire erupted when hydraulic fluid contacted the turbo charger exhaust port. The fire, which engulfed the truck, was fueled by the hydraulic fluid as well as by approximately 400 gallons of diesel that leaked out of the ruptured fuel tank. The fire burned out of control, taking approximately two hours to extinguish. It took an additional hour for the heat to dissipate in order to determine that the operator was still in the cab.

Brown was pronounced dead at the scene on December 9, 1995. The time of death was determined, by county authorities to be 3:10 a.m. The body was removed from the scene and transported to the Washoe County Coroner's office where an autopsy was performed.

Brown died from thermal burns covering 90 percent of his body.

CONCLUSION

There were no mechanical defects found on the Dresser 685E haul truck, company number MD523. The dumping location where the accident occurred was found to meet or exceed MSHA standards. It could not be determined why the operator of the haul truck did not maintain control of the truck while backing into the dumping position.

CITATIONS/ORDERS

Order No. 4140582, 103(k), 12/09/95

The mine has experienced a fatal haulage accident. This order is issued to secure the accident scene and all equipment involved until the mine Safety and Health Administration conducts an investigation.

Citation No. 3915681, 104(a), Section 56.9101, issued on 12/09/95

The driver of a 190 ton haul truck failed to control the piece of equipment he was operating. The truck was powered through a dump berm resulting in a roll over accident and fatal injury to the driver.

Respectfully submitted by:

Edward E. Lopez
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Bobby R. Caples
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by:

Fred M. Hansen
Manager, Western District


Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB95M45]