Skip to content

North Central District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health


Christman Quarry (I.D. No. 33-00043)
Christman Quarry
Lewisville, Monroe County, Ohio

December 14, 1995


Jerry L. Spruell
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
515 West First Street, #228
Duluth, MN 55802-1302
James M. Salois
District Manager


Darrin B. Clift, dozer operator, was fatally injured on December 14, 1995, at approximately 12:30 p.m., when he was run over by the dozer he was operating.

The Newark, Ohio field office of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was notified of the accident on December 14, 1995, at 2:20 p.m., by a telephone call from Paul Kidney, Chief, Ohio Division of Mines, who told the company he would call MSHA. The investigation was started the next day.

Christman Quarry was a surface limestone operation located in Lewisville, Monroe County, Ohio. The operating official was Gerald L. Christman, owner. Seven employees worked a 9-hour day shift, five days a week.

Limestone was drilled and blasted, loaded onto trucks, and hauled to the crushing plant where it was crushed, sized, and stockpiled for sale to local customers.

The last regular inspection of Christman Quarry was conducted August 30-31, 1995.


The dozer involved in the accident was a 1981 Fiat-Allis Model 31, serial number 84M02269. It was equipped with a straight blade, a factory rollover protective structure cab, and a rear mounted ripper. The dozer transmission lever was found in "first" gear forward and the hand accelerator was in the "full" throttle position after the accident. Examination of the dozer after the accident revealed no safety defects.

The dozer tracks were 31 inches wide and there was a 70-inch distance between them.

The dozer operator was found in the track left by the dozer about 44 feet in front of the location where Clift had parked for lunch and about 130 feet in front of the upper stripped materials. Prior to lunch he had been cleaning the bench of topsoil for drilling.

The topsoil was 20 inches high where tracks indicated the dozer passed through it. According to witnesses, the blade was raised above ground level about 2-2� feet. There were no blade marks along the dozer tracks where it traveled during the accident.


On December 14, 1995, Darrin Clift, victim, reported for work at 7:30 a.m., his regular starting time. A short meeting was held in the garage area to discuss the day's work with Darren Dimmerling, foreman. After Clift and Dimmerling checked out the dozer, Clift went to the lower level of the pit to push dirt.

Later that morning it was decided that the upper working level bench needed to be cleaned of topsoil before drilling could begin. Around 12:10 p.m., Clift parked the dozer in front of the upper face of stripped material and shut the engine off, reportedly to eat lunch.

Around 12:30 p.m., employees in and around the shop area heard the dozer start up. One or two minutes later, Dimmerling and Fred Ulrich, mechanic, saw the dozer come through the 20-inch pile of topsoil. They both watched the dozer travel down the pushed off material and knew something was wrong because the blade was in the raised position. They took the company pick up truck and traveled to the area where the dozer had stopped.

Dimmerling and Ulrich could not see Clift in the cab so they immediately went to the area where he had been working. They found him in the dozer tracks where the dozer had run over him. Dimmerling went to the office to summon help while Ulrich stayed with Clift.

An ambulance arrived at the scene and the medical personnel determined there was nothing they could do. They notified the coroner, who came to the property and pronounced Clift dead at the scene. The cause of death was reported as a severed spine and aorta.


It is believed that Clift accidentally engaged the throttle lever while he was entering or exiting the dozer cab, causing the dozer to move forward. He was pulled to the front of the dozer by the track and was run over. The transmission was in gear, rather than in neutral where the shift lever should have been blocked-out, which would have prevented the dozer from moving while unattended, regardless of the throttle setting.


The following citation will be issued on March 11, 1996 after management's return to the operation:

Citation No. 4416121, Part/Section of Title 30 CFR: 56.14207; Type of Action: 104a

On December 14, 1995, a dozer operator was fatally injured when he attempted to either exit or enter the operator's cab of his machine while the engine was running. The parking brake mechanism had not been set. It is believed the operator accidentally bumped a lever causing the dozer to move in a forward motion. The victim either fell or was standing on the dozer track. This action caused his body to go beneath the track where he was crushed by the dozer's weight. Citation issuance was delayed due to full review of the accident information.

Respectfully submitted by:

/s/ Jerry L. Spruell
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by:

James M. Salois
District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB95M48]