DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine
Fatal Powered Haulage Accident
ISP Minerals, Incorporated
Blue Ridge Summit, Adams County, Pennsylvania
Mine I.D. No. 36-03460
April 29, 1998
Dennis A. Yesko
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Northeastern District Office
230 Executive Drive, Suite 2
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16066-6415
James R. Petrie
Ronald Kindle, Sr., mechanic, age 57, was fatally injured at about 6:15 p.m. on April 29, 1998, when he was caught and drawn into the pinch point between an alignment roller and conveyor belt. He died the following day. Kindle had a total of 36 years 2 months mining experience, all at this operation, the last 3 years 1 month as a class "A" mechanic. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.
MSHA was notified by a telephone call from Craig Musser, safety engineer for the mining company at about 11:30 p.m. on the day of the accident. An investigation was started the following morning.
The Charmian mine, a crushed stone operation, owned and operated by ISP Minerals, Inc., was located at Blue Ridge Summit, Adams County, Pennsylvania. The principal operating official was Michael Shelbert, plant manager. The mine normally operated three, 8-hour shifts a day, 5 days a week. A total of 132 persons was employed.
Traprock was drilled and blasted from a single bench in the quarry. Broken stone was loaded by front-end loader onto haulage trucks and transported to the mill where it was crushed and sized. The finished product was sold for roofing granules and tennis court materials (TCM).
The last inspection of this operation was completed on February 26, 1998. Another inspection was conducted in conjunction with this investigation.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVEDThe accident occurred in the mill area of the plant. The equipment involved was identified as the TCM bagging conveyor, designated Unit No. B-1, manufactured by Conveyor Industries Inc. The conveyor transferred bagged product from the bagging station to the palletizer.
The TCM conveyor frame was 124 � feet long and 27 � inches wide, and was powered by a 5-horsepower, 230/440 VAC electric motor. The conveyor belting was 2-ply, 19 � inches wide, and had a rough texture for better traction and to prevent bag slippage. It was worn on one side from rubbing against the conveyor frame.
The lower return section of the conveyor belt was routed through roller sets at several locations. Each set contained three rollers spaced 6-inches apart. The two end rollers were stationary, and the center roller was equipped with threaded adjustment bolts for aligning the belt. The roller set involved in the accident was located about 40 feet from the southern transfer point, and each roller measured 26 � inches long and 2 � inches in diameter.
The distance from the floor to the conveyor frame where the accident occurred was 19 � inches. The distance from the floor to the pinch point between the center alignment roller and conveyor belt was 22 inches. The victim was using a �-inch combination open-end box wrench to turn the adjusting bolts in order to align the belt.
Employees stated that they normally climbed over the top of the conveyor for cleaning, maintenance, and production purposes. A crossover was not provided to reach the other side.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Ronald Kindle, Sr. (victim) reported for work at 3:00 p.m., his regular starting time. Kindle performed various maintenance tasks throughout the mill. At about 3:45 p.m., Ronald Seiford, TCM operator, contacted Greg Oliver, coloring plant foreman, and informed him that the TCM conveyor belt needed alignment. Oliver, in turn, contacted Kindle by telephone and instructed him to align the conveyor. At about 5:10 p.m., Kindle told Seiford that one of the rollers on the TCM conveyor needed adjustment. At this time, Kindle did not have his tools with him and went to the maintenance shop.
At about 6:15 p.m., Timothy Martin, TCM bagger operator, noticed that the conveyor system had backed up with bags and the flattening conveyor was jammed. He stopped the conveyor and informed Seiford that the system was jammed. When Seiford and Larry Lantz, laborer, arrived, Martin was taking bags off the conveyor. As Seiford approached the TCM conveyor, he noticed Kindle lying underneath. He jokingly pinched Kindle's leg, but when he did not react, he realized that Kindle was caught in the conveyor. Lantz called the local rescue squad while Martin went for help.
Jeff Noll, laboratory technician, arrived and checked Kindle for vital signs, but found none. The conveyor belt was cut to free Kindle, and Noll started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A rescue squad arrived a short time later, took over CPR, and were able to restore a pulse. Kindle was transported to a local hospital, and was later life-flighted to the Hershey Medical Center where he died the following day.
The cause of the accident was failure to provide a crossover for employees to safely access both sides of the conveyor and failure to effectively protect persons from becoming caught in pinch points when aligning the belt.
Order No. 4435561 was issued on April 30, 1998, at 10:30 a.m., under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act.
A mechanic was fatally injured at this mine on April 29, 1998, when he was caught and drawn into the pinch point between an alignment roller and conveyor belt. This order is issued to assure the safety of persons until the affected areas can be returned to normal mining operations as determined by an authorized representative of the Secretary. The operator shall obtain approval from an authorized representative for all actions to recover persons, equipment, and/or restore operations in the affected area.This order was terminated on May 8, 1998, when it was determined that the plant could safely return to normal operation.
Citation No. 7714409 was issued on May 5, 1998, under the provisions of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.11013:
A mechanic was fatally injured at this mine on April 29, 1998, when he was caught and drawn into the pinch point between an alignment roller and conveyor belt. He had crawled under the TCM bagging conveyor to reach the alignment bolt on the opposite side and became entangled. The conveyor was not provided with a crossover. Employees were required to cross the conveyor at various times for cleaning, maintenance, and production purposes. Employees stated that they normally climb over the top of the conveyor. This is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard, constituting more than ordinary negligence.This citation was terminated on May 13, 1998, after the mine operator installed a crossover.
Citation No. 7714410 was issued on May 5, 1998, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.14105:
A mechanic was fatally injured at this mine on April 29, 1998, when he was caught and drawn into the pinch point between an alignment roller and conveyor belt. He had crawled under the TCM bagging conveyor to reach the alignment bolt on the opposite side while the belt was in motion. The distance from the conveyor frame to the floor in this area was about 18 to 20 inches. The victim was not effectively protected from being caught in the roller while making adjustments while the belt was in motion.This citation was terminated on May 13, 1998, after the company provided guards to protect persons from hazardous motion when making adjustments while the belt is in operation. Mine management conducted a safety meeting with all employees emphasizing the requirements of 30 CFR 56.14105.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: