MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
ROCKY MOUNTAIN DISTRICT
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Surface Nonmetal Mine
Sand and Gravel
Fatal Powered Haulage Accident
United Metro Materials
Sacaton, Pinal County, Arizona
ID No. 02-02116
August 9, 1999
Richard R. Laufenberg
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety & Health Inspector
Stanley J. Michalek
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Rocky Mountain District
P.O. Box 25367, DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367
Claude N. Narramore, District Manager
Dave P. Antone, laborer, age 25, was fatally injured at about 6:30 p.m., on August 9, 1999, when he was caught in a conveyor belt return roller while attempting to clean the roller with a hoe. The roller was not guarded and it was being cleaned while the belt was running.
Antone had a total of 4 weeks, 4 days mining experience, all as a laborer at this mine. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
Plant 48, a surface sand and gravel mine, owned and operated by United Metro Materials, was located at Sacaton, Pinal County, Arizona. The principal operating official was Michael J. Dillon, plant manager. The mine was normally operated two, 9-hour shifts a day, six days a week. Total employment was 25 persons.
Sand and gravel was extracted from a single bench in the pit and transported by truck to the plant where it was crushed, screened and stockpiled. The finished products were sold primarily for use as construction aggregate.
The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on March 10, 1999. Another inspection was conducted following this investigation.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Dave Antone (victim) reported for work at 1:00 p.m., his normal starting time. Ryan Newman, supervisor, assigned Antone and Chesley Justin, laborer, clean-up work at the plant. Antone worked using a shovel and hoe, while Justin operated a skid-steer loader. At about 2:00 p.m., the plant was started. At about 5:15 p.m., Justin Sanders, welder/mechanic, saw Antone near the welding shop. A few minutes later, Antone walked toward the El-Jay shaker screen, carrying the shovel and hoe.
At about 6:00 p.m., Newman, Sanders and Justin began looking for Antone. About thirty minutes later, Justin approached the El-Jay screen and saw a hardhat and hoe handle laying on the ground under the screen. Antone was caught in the conveyor belt return roller under the screen. Justin ran to signal the plant operator to shut down the plant.
Local authorities and emergency medical personnel were summoned. The return roller was disassembled in order to free Antone. He was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.
INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT
MSHA was notified at 8:00 p.m., on the day of the accident by a telephone call from David Chavez, director of safety and labor relations, to James Kirk, supervisory mine safety and health inspector. An investigation was started the same day. MSHA's accident investigation team came to the mine and made a physical inspection of the accident site, interviewed a number of persons and reviewed documents relative to the job being performed by the victim and his training records. An order was issued pursuant to Section 103(k) of the Mine Act to ensure the safety of miners. The miners did not request, nor have, representation during the investigation.
The plant equipment consisted of crushers, shaking screens, and numerous conveyor belts. The accident occurred at the El-Jay shaker screen, which was a mobile screening plant. The wheels had been removed and the unit was supported on concrete pads and timbering. The screen was oriented in approximately an east to west direction.
Wheel support frames were comprised of various steel sections and plates welded together to form two small compartments under the unit. In the eastern compartment, the vertical distance from the ground to the center of the return rollers was approximately 73 inches. The horizontal distance from the plate separating the eastern and western compartments to the center of the western-most return roller was approximately 16 inches.
The return rollers were 38-1/2 inches long and 4-1/2 inches in diameter. The western-most return roller showed gouge and scrape markings in the surface metal.
The shaker unit consisted of 5-by 16-foot screens in three layers, which allowed for separation of material based on size. Oversized material was routed to a crusher while undersized material fell through onto the next screen. Material too fine to be retained on any screen fell down through the screens onto a conveyor belt designated Number 6. This belt was 36 inches wide and transferred sand-sized material to another transfer belt. The operating speed for belt Number 6 was 350 feet per minute.
Material processed through the plant was typically wet. Damp or wet sand had a tendency to adhere to conveyor belt Number 6. The discharge end of the belt was equipped with a wiper to remove adhered material. Material not cleaned from the belt by the wiper would either fall off or travel on the belt until it contacted another surface on which to adhere. At the time of this investigation, built-up material was present under belt Number 6. This material consisted of piles of loose and densified sand on the ground, machine frame, and on the return rollers for the belt.
A homemade metal hoe-like tool was used to clean the roller. It consisted of a metal blade approximately 18 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 1/8-inch thick. A 1-1/8-inch-diameter, 70-inch-long wooden handle was attached to the blade. During the accident the handle broke approximately 2 inches from where it was inserted into the blade. An approximate 10-inch length on the broken end of the handle was shaped as though it was bent around the roller. Wood splinters from the broken handle were in the sand pile below the western-most return roller. Markings matching the color of the machine frame were at various locations on the wooden handle. The metal blade had a severe but smooth bend diagonally across its width at approximately the mid-point.
The victim was found with his legs located partially in the eastern compartment of the wheel supports. A portion of the right side of his body was caught between the western-most return roller and the conveyor belt.
The direct cause of the accident was failure to guard the return roller and manually cleaning the roller while the conveyor was running. Failure to adequately examine the screening plant for hazardous conditions and promptly correcting such conditions were also contributing factors.
Order No. 7933315 was issued on August 9, 1999, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 9, 1999, when a laborer was caught between a conveyor belt and return roller. This order is issued to ensure the safety of persons at this operation until the mine or affected areas can be returned to normal operations as determined by the authorized representative of the Secretary. The mine operator shall obtain approval from an authorized representative for all actions to recover persons, equipment, and/or return affected areas of the mine to normal.This order was terminated August 11, 1999. Conditions that contributed to the accident have been corrected and normal mining operations can resume.
Citation No. 7923659 was issued on September 21, 1999, under the provisions of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.14107(a):
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 9, 1999, when a laborer was caught in an unguarded conveyor belt return roller under the El-Jay shaker screen. This was one of two return rollers about six feet above ground level which was not guarded. Failure to guard these rollers is a serious lack of reasonable care constituting more than ordinary negligence and is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard.Citation No. 7923660 was issued on September 21, 1999, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.14202:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 9, 1999, when a laborer was caught in an unguarded conveyor belt return roller under the El-Jay shaker screen. The conveyor was not shut-off prior to cleaning the roller.This citation was terminated on September 21, 1999. The mine operator has instructed all employees on the requirements of Standard 56.14202, and specifically prohibited manually cleaning conveyor components while conveyors are in motion.
Order No. 7923661 was issued on September 21, 1999, under the provisions of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.18002(a):
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 9, 1999, when a laborer was caught in an unguarded conveyor belt return roller under the El-Jay shaker screen. Two return rollers about six feet above ground level were not guarded. The mine operator failed to examine the conveyor and screen for hazardous conditions. Management's failure to adequately examine this work place and initiate action to correct hazardous conditions is a serious lack of reasonable care constituting more than ordinary negligence and is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard.This order was terminated on September 21, 1999. The mine operator has committed to examination of each working place for conditions which may adversely affect safety and health.
Citation No. 7923663 was issued on September 21, 1999, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.18006:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 9, 1999, when a laborer was caught in an unguarded return roller on the conveyor under the El-Jay shaker screen. The laborer had less than five weeks mining experience. He had not been adequately indoctrinated in safety rules and safe work procedures.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Persons Participating in the Investigation
United Metro Materials
Michael J. Dillon, plant managerMine Safety & Health Administration
David G. Chavez, director of safety/labor relations
Melissa A. Bailey, attorney
Richard R. Laufenberg, supervisory mine safety & health inspector
Steven Ryan, mine safety & health inspector
Stanely J. Michalek, civil engineer
United Metro Materials
Michael J. Dillon, plant manager
Vincent Maiorana, plant foreman
Ryan D. Newman, night shift supervisor
Edward Oelke, mechanic
Justin Sanders, welder mechanic
Chesley Justin, laborer
Wayne Patch, laborer
Ernie Tapia, laborer
Eusebio Rojas, laborer
Gary Arrington, laborer
Johnny Tapia, crusher operator