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Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

Grove Portable Crusher
Grove Crushing Company
Cannon Beach, Clatsop County, Oregon
Mine ID No. 35-03363

May 7, 1996


Dennis D. Harsh
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Arnold E. Pederson
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Mine Safety and Health Administration
Western District Office
3333 Vaca Valley Parkway, Suite 600
Vacaville, California 95688

Fred M. Hansen
District Manager


Leonard F. Wright, loader operator, age 25, was fatally injured at about 8:30 a.m., on May 7, 1996 when he was pinned between two trailers while positioning components of a portable crushing plant. Wright had a total of one year and seven months of mining experience, all as a loader operator with this employer. He had not received training in accordance with 30CFR Part 48.

MSHA was notified at 11:15 a.m. on the day of the accident by a telephone call from Michele Hughes, equipment operator. An investigation was started the following day.

The site where the accident occurred was a small single-bench quarry owned by Cavenham Industries, a timber company. It was located near Cannon Beach, Clatsop County, Oregon.

Grove Crushing Company, Hillsboro, Oregon, was contracted to process quarry run material for Cavenham Industries. The principal official was Michael R. Hughes, president. The crusher was normally operated one 10-hour shift a day, six days a week. A total of four persons was employed.

The last regular inspection of the crushing plant was conducted at another site on September 6, 1995. Following the accident, a regular inspection of the portable crusher was conducted July 30, 1996.


The two trailers involved in the accident were flatbed over-the-road units with dual axles and fifth-wheel attachments. One trailer was approximately 30 feet long, 8 feet wide, and weighed 92,000 pounds. It was mounted with a Hewitt-Robins feeder and a 24-inch by 36-inch Pioneer jaw crusher with an under-jaw discharge conveyor. The top of the trailer's fifth-wheel attachment was 55 inches above the ground. The other trailer was 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and weighed about 82,000 pounds. It supported a 4 x 12 foot El Jay shaker screen, a 45-inch El Jay cone crusher, and three belt conveyors. One conveyor extended seven feet beyond the end of the trailer. A 48 x 19 x 52 inch rock box, used to catch spillage, was attached beneath the end of the conveyor. The top of the rock box was 55 inches above the ground. Both trailers were located on a level surface.

The tractor used to transport the trailers was a 1974 Kenworth 900 Series. The service and parking brakes of the tractor and trailer were tested and found in good working condition.

The weather was clear and dry.


On the day of the accident, Leonard Wright (victim) reported for work at 7:00 a.m., his usual starting time. The morning's activities involved setting up the portable crushing plant. He and equipment operators Fred Pace and Martin Dowell were to prepare an area where the trailer with the screen and cone crusher was to be located. The jaw crusher had been placed the previous day.

Shortly after 7:00 a.m. Michael Hughes, owner, left the site to get the screen and cone crusher. On his return, at about 8:00 a.m., he drove onto the site, turned the trailer around, and began backing it into place. As was standard practice, spotters walked alongside the trailer to assist the driver with his maneuvers. Pace positioned himself on the right side while Wright and Dowell, also acting as spotters, located themselves on the left. As Hughes' was making his third attempt at aligning the trailer with the one previously positioned, Wright stepped between them to check for proper location of the jaw discharge conveyor. His attention was directed toward aligning the components of the two trailers. He motioned and verbally directed Dowell to signal Hughes to keep backing. Shortly thereafter Dowell got a verbal and a hand signal from Wright to "stop," which he immediately relayed to Hughes. Dowell looked back toward Wright and saw that he was pinned between the rock box and the 5th wheel hitch plate. He yelled and waved for Hughes to drive forward and then rushed to Wright. He laid him on the ground and attempted to assess his injuries. Dowell and Pace remained with Wright while Hughes rushed to his pickup truck to call 911. He then drove to the main gate, about one mile, where he met the rescue units and led them to the accident site. Wright was examined by EMT's and pronounced dead by a deputy coroner.


The accident occurred because the company had no established safe work procedures for positioning the crushers. The lack of an effective means of warning persons exposed to backing hazards resulted in delays in communications between the victim, the person relaying signals, and the equipment operator. There was insufficient warning time for the victim exposed to the backing equipment.


Citation No. 4129883
Issued on May 8, 1996, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30CFR 56.14200:

A fatal accident occurred at this operation on May 7, 1996 when an employee was crushed between two trailers containing the components of a portable mill being positioned preparatory to operation. Verbal and hand signals directing movement of the trailer being backed into place were relayed from the victim to a coworker and then to the driver of the tractor/trailer. The delay in relaying signals in this manner did not allow sufficient reaction time to stop the vehicle before striking the victim. This was not an effective means of warning persons exposed to the the hazards of equipment being moved.

/s/ Dennis D. Harsh
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

/s/ Arnold E. Pederson
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by:

Fred M. Hansen, Manager,
Western District

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB96M16]