METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On August 21, 1998, a 41-year-old laborer (contractor employee) with 15 years of mining experience was fatally injured at a clay mill. The victim was inside a rail hopper car using a shovel to dislodge material. Apparently, he fell from the rope ladder he had been working from and became engulfed in the material. The victim had a safety belt with a lifeline fastened at the top of the rail car, but the line was too long to afford protection. A second person was not assigned to tend the lifeline.
Lifelines should be of appropriate length to provide protection. A second person should tend the lifeline when bins or other dangerous areas are entered to ensure slack line is not excessive. Where clogging may occur, bins and hoppers should be equipped with mechanical devices so persons are not required to enter or work where they may become entrapped by sliding material.
This is the 35th fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 1997, there were 46 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the seventh fatality classified as Slip/Fall of Person in 1998. There were five Slip/Fall of Person fatalities in the same period in 1997. (Please note the 1997 final fatality count was changed from 60 to 61 after the close of the calendar year).
For more information:
MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report