DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine
Fatal Machinery Accident
Don Olson Airdome Truck Tire Company
Harper Brothers, Incorporated
Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida
Mine I.D. 08-00991-UHM
September 29, 1997
Harry L. Verdier
Supervisory Mine Inspector
Steve C. Manis
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Michael J. Hodgins, tire repairman, age 35, was fatally injured between the hours of 7:45 p.m., September 29, 1997, and 6:15 a.m. the following morning, when he was crushed by a tire he was attempting to install on a front-end loader. The victim had a total of 17 years experience as a tire repairman, the last 3 years and 2 months with this employer. Hodgins had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
MSHA was notified by a telephone call from the human resource manager for the mining company at 9:20 a.m. on September 30, 1997. An investigation was started the same day.
The Alico Pit, a crushed limestone operation, owned and operated by Harper Brothers, Incorporated, was located 6 miles east of Interstate 75, along Alico Road, Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida. The principal operating official was Curtis Zimmerman, plant manager. The mine was normally operated one, 14-hour shift 4 days a week and a 10-hour shift on the 5th day. An 8-hour maintenance shift was worked 5 days a week. Total employment was 60 persons.
After removing overburden, the area to be mined was normally below the water table. Broken limestone was placed on top of the mining site where it was leveled and compacted to form a working pad that was slightly above the water table. This working pad supported the draglines, drills, front-end loaders, haulage trucks, and other equipment.
Limestone was drilled and blasted, then excavated by dragline from under water and stockpiled for drying. The material was then loaded by front end-loader into haul trucks and transported to the milling area to be crushed, sized, screened, and stockpiled. The product was sold for use as construction aggregate.
The victim was employed by Don Olsen Airdome Truck Tire Company, a heavy equipment tire sales/service company, located in Brooksville, Hernando County, Florida. The principal operating official was Rick Williams, corporate sales manager. The company serviced heavy equipment tires throughout Florida and parts of Georgia and Alabama.
The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on August 28, 1997. Another inspection was conducted following this investigation.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
The accident occurred in a remote area of the mine where the ground was level and mostly dry.
The tire service truck was a 1993 Ford, Model LN8000, owned by the tire company. The truck was equipped with a Model 217 articulated, knuckle-boom crane manufactured by Iowa Mold Tooling Co. Inc., (IMT). The crane was attached to the bed of the truck, directly behind the cab. Hydraulic controls for the boom were located outside and just behind the cab on both sides of the truck. The controls had eleven levers to control the lifting pads, hoisting, lowering, booming out, and rotating functions. The bed of the truck was approximately 19 feet long and about 4-� feet off ground level.
A hydraulic pressure gauge was mounted under the truck, but was not readily visible from the hydraulic controls. This gauge monitored the hydraulic system, not individual controls.
The boom was equipped with two gripping pads for lifting the tires. These pads were constructed of metal plates which measured 14 by 18 inches with provisions for 12 bolts, 2�-inches long, and �-inch in diameter. The bolts were secured with nuts and extended about an inch past the nuts and were used to grip the tire surface. The pads were capable of lifting tires up to 9� feet in diameter. At the time of the accident, 11 of these bolts were in place in one pad and 10 in the other. The number of bolts that gripped the tire would depend on the size and design of the tire. On the tire involved in the accident, five bolts gripped on one side and 6 on the other. It was determined that the missing bolts were not a factor contributing to the accident because they would not have contacted the tire when the lifting pads were positioned against the tire tread.
When fully extended at 17 feet, the rated lift capacity of the hydraulic boom was 11,500 pounds.
The tire involved in the accident, was a Goodyear size 45/65/45. It measured 45.8 inches wide, with a diameter of 107.6 inches and weighed 5,549 pounds. It was not on a rim.
Normally, tires were lifted by applying hydraulic pressure with the lifting pads positioned against the tread of the tire with the bolts on the lifting pad gripping the tire tread. When enough pressure was applied, the tire could be lifted, moved and rotated from horizontal to vertical positions. Usually, the tire was lifted horizontally, then rotated to a vertical position to enable soapy water to be applied to the rim (soaping the bead) of the tire for easier installation.
Normally, the contractor changed the tires at the maintenance shop. However, a model 992, Caterpillar front-loader that Hodgins was to replace the two rear tires on, had been left at a remote area of the mine for repair because of a fuel line rupture.
An examination of the equipment during the investigation revealed no defects on the truck, crane, or the hydraulic system following the accident. The tire was raised to about 3 feet above ground and held in place for about 15 minutes, when tested. The hydraulics on both the crane and lifting pads functioned normally.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Michael Hodgins (victim) reported for work in Brooksville, Florida at 7:00 a.m., his normal starting time. At about 10:00 a.m. he was dispatched by his supervisor, Steve Satter, to the Alico Pit in Fort Myers, Florida, a distance of 250 miles.
Hodgins arrived at the mine at about 2:00 p.m., and was told by Michael Brown, equipment manager for the mining company, that a haulage truck and a front-end loader needed tire changes. Work continued without incidence and Hodgins completed changing the tires on the truck at about 5:30 p.m. He then put two loader tires on the bed of his truck and went to the location where the loader was parked.
Between 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., Hodgins was observed by the production crew positioning his truck parallel to the front-end loader, jacking up the rear of the loader, and deflating the left rear tire. At 8:00 p.m., the production crew finished their shift and departed the mine property. Several employees and a night security guard were still at the mine site, but were not aware that Hodgins was working late.
When the production crew arrived about 6:15 a.m. the next morning, they saw Hodgins' truck parked where it had been the night before.
The production crew contacted Raymond Horton, planning and sales manager for the mining company, by radio and told him that the service tire truck was still at the same location. Horton drove to Hodgins' truck and found it parked on level ground, about 6 feet away from, and parallel to the front-end loader. The left rear tire had been removed from the loader and was lying flat on the ground at the rear of the loader.
The engine was running in Hodgins' truck and the transmission was in neutral. The outriggers had been extended and placed firmly on the ground. The head lights and boom lights were on. The boom had been extended about half way toward the loader and the tire Hodgins was to put on the loader was lying on the ground with the boom resting on top of it. Hodgins was under the tire. Horton checked for a pulse but found none. He used the service truck boom to lift the tire off the victim.
Emergency assistance was summoned and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Death was attributed to mechanical asphyxiation.
There were no witnesses to the accident; however, a bucket found at the scene and soap on the tire, indicated that Hodgins had lifted the tire off the bed of his truck and had walked under it to soap the bead while the tire was in a horizontal position. Marks on the tire indicated that pressure on the lifting pads was apparently not applied sufficiently to hold the tire, which allowed the tire to slip while Hodgins was underneath.
It was the consensus opinion of the investigators that the accident was caused by failure to apply sufficient pressure to grip the tire. The victim applying the soap under the suspended tire greatly contributed to the severity of the accident. The victim had worked in excess of thirteen hours prior to the accident, which may have been a contributing factor.
Order No. 3875945
Issued on September 30,1997, under the provisions of Section 103(k):
Citation No. 7786415
Issued on October 15,1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of Standard 56.18020:
Citation No. 7786403
Issued on October 15,1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a)of the Mine Act for violation of Standard 56.18020:
Citation No. 7786402
Issued on October 15,1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of Section 56.16009:
/s/ Harry L. Verdier
Supervisory Mine Inspector
/s/ Steve C. Manis
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Approved by: Martin Rosta, District Manager
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