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Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health


Surface Nonmetal Mine
(Dimension Limestone)

Fatal Fall of Material Accident
June 12, 2000

Maple Hill Quarry
B. G. Hoadley Quarries, Inc.
Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana
I.D. 12-01039

Accident Investigators

Ralph D. Christensen
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Gene W. Upton
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Robert Johnen
Civil Engineer

Kirk Harman
Educational Field Services (EFS)

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
North Central District
515 W. First Street, Room 333
Duluth, MN 55802-1302
Felix A. Quintana, District Manager


On June 12, 2000, Bobby G. Martin, front-end loader operator, age 48, was fatally injured when he was crushed between two large limestone blocks. Martin had retrieved the two blocks from the reject pile with a front-end loader and placed them nearby for examination and marking. The victim was standing between the blocks when the rear block toppled and pinned him against the second block.

The accident occurred because the stone block was placed on protruding stones and uneven ground and was not positioned securely.

Martin had a total of 17-� years mining experience, all with this company and most of that time at this mine site. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.


Maple Hill Quarry, a surface limestone operation, owned and operated by B. G. Hoadley Quarries, Inc., was located 1 mile east on Rockport Road, off Highway 37 South, in Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana. The principle operating officials were: Patsy Fell, president; Bert Fell, Jr., vice president of operations; and David Fell, vice president of sales. The mine was normally operated one, 8-hour shift per day, five days a week. Total employment was 12 persons.

Limestone was mined from multiple benches. A diamond belt saw cut the limestone into 120-foot long, 10-foot high, by 4-foot deep sections. The section was cut by slips-and-wedges to 6-foot and 10-foot long blocks which were transported by front-end loaders to the storage yard. Some blocks were sawed into desired slabs. Others were sold uncut. Some of the off-color blocks were transported to the cull block storage area about 1/8th mile behind the saw, where weathering after a period of time changed their color and made some of them useful for special orders. The blocks and sawed slabs were sold for construction materials.

The last regular inspection at this operation was completed on May 25, 2000.


On the day of the accident, Bobby G. Martin (victim) reported for work at 6:00 a.m., his normal starting time. As a loader operator, Martin's job consisted of measuring, grading, and inventorying the limestone blocks; selecting blocks for over-the-road customer trucks; loading blocks for the sawyer; and shifting blocks in the yard and quarry, including transporting reject blocks to and from the cull block stacking area. Martin worked without incident until approximately 11:10 a.m., his usual lunch period. On this day, he chose to go to the cull block stacking area for more block.

At about 11:30 a.m., Bert Fell, vice president of operations, called by phone to speak to Martin about an order he wanted to load for a customer coming to the site. Carl Anderson, superintendent, could not find Martin around the storage yard and went to look for him. When he approached the cull block stacking area, he observed Martin's forklift parked and running, but did not see Martin. He observed two blocks about 15 feet ahead of the loader and noticed there appeared to be something on top of them. As he approached, he observed Martin pinned between the two blocks. Realizing Martin was trapped and severely injured, Anderson immediately returned to the office and instructed John Wheeler, equipment operator, to call 911. He then returned to the scene with Wheeler and Larry Anderson, loader operator, to free Martin.

Emergency personnel arrived at the scene moments later. The blocks were moved and they checked the victim for vital signs but found none.

The coroner pronounced the victim dead at the scene. Death was attributed to blunt force trauma to the abdomen with transection.


MSHA was notified of the accident at 2:55 p.m. on the same day by a telephone call from Bert Fell, Jr., vice president of operations, to Steven M. Richetta, supervisory mine safety and health inspector. An investigation was started the next day. MSHA's accident investigation team traveled to the mine, made a physical inspection of the accident scene, interviewed employees, and reviewed conditions and work procedures at the time of the accident. An order was issued pursuant to Section 103(k) of the Mine Act to ensure the safety of miners. The miners did not request, or have, representation during the investigation.


1. The accident occurred in an area known as the "cull stone stacking area". Limestone blocks of lesser quality (off-color or variegated color) were stored there until a customer requested a need for such a stone. Some blocks in the cull area were relatively neatly stacked in a stable manner (normally three-high), indicating they were placed there with a loader equipped with forks. However, in most of the area, the blocks were piled in a very random manner, indicating they were dumped by loader or truck from the top side.

2. The victim was working in the cull block stacking area with a Terex Model 71-81 AA modified front-end loader. The loader was equipped with forks instead of a bucket. It appears he had been using the loader to select blocks to take to the saw. The loader was not directly involved in the accident.

3. The victim was pinned between two blocks of limestone that had previously been cut, removed from the quarry, and placed in the cull stone storage area. One block was approximately 11 feet 4 inches long, 4 feet 2 inches high, and 3 feet 2 inches wide. The smaller block was approximately 8 feet 4 inches long, 4 feet 8 inches high, and 3 feet 6 inches wide. Both blocks were irregularly shaped, so a precise calculation of their weights was not possible. However, using the general dimensions and unit weight of 150 pounds per cubic foot used by the mill to estimate shipping weights, the larger block weighed approximately 22,500 pounds and the smaller one weighed about 20,400 pounds.

4. The victim had apparently retrieved the larger block from another location with the loader, as there was dirt and green grass stuck to the left bottom edge of the stone and there was none in the immediate area where the stone was sitting. The block had been placed on the ground approximately 13 inches from the base of stacked stones. He had retrieved another smaller block and placed it about 4 feet away from the first block.

5. The larger block, which was placed on the ground first, was apparently placed on uneven ground, exacerbated by the fact that two or three small stones protruded from the ground surface about 3 to 6 inches (two employees interviewed thought there were two stones and one thought there were three). The exact configuration of the ground was disturbed when the larger block was tilted back up and pushed back forcefully to ensure its stability when recovering the victim.

6. The larger block was placed on the uneven ground and protruding stones. It was observed that the victim appeared to have marked the smaller block with blue chalk to indicate where it should be cut by the saw. A piece of the blue chalk was observed on the ground in the vicinity. The victim had walked between the two blocks, possibly to inspect the larger block and mark it for cutting. It was evident, by the way the victim was pinned between the two stones, that the victim was facing the larger block to examine and mark it for sawing. According to interviews with the persons who participated in the recovery, it appears that the victim had placed his left arm on top of the block, which apparently was enough additional force to tip the unstable block against the other.


The root cause of the accident was management's failure to implement procedures to assure that stone blocks were positioned securely prior to examining or marking them. Failure to recognize the protruding stones and uneven ground as stability hazards contributed to the accident.


Order No. 7842838 was issued on June 13, 2000, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on June 12, 2000 when a loader operator was positioned between two limestone blocks to examine and measure the stone. The rear block, which was positioned on uneven ground, fell forward, pinning the victim against the front block. This order is issued to assure the safety of persons at this operation until the mine or affected area can be returned to normal mining operation 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 June 15, 2000, when it was determined that conditions and practices that contributed to the accident no longer existed and that normal operations could resume.

Citation No. 7817891 was issued on June 22, 2000, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.16001:
On June 12, 2000, at approximately 11:15 a.m., a front-end loader operator was fatally injured when he was crushed between two large limestone blocks. He was positioned between the blocks, measuring and marking them for future cutting. One of the blocks had been placed on unstable ground with stones under it which caused the block to topple and crush him.
This citation was terminated on June 22, 2000, when the mine operator established a written policy for examining and marking blocks for cutting, eliminating any hazards in the future to employees. All employees at the mine were trained in this policy.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB2000M21


Persons Participating in the Investigation

B.G. Hoadley Quarries, Inc.

Patsy Fell, president
Bert Fell, Jr., vice president of operations
David Fell, vice president of sales
Carl Anderson, superintendent
Larry Anderson, front-end loader operator
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Ralph D. Christensen, supervisory mine safety and health inspector
Gene W. Upton, mine safety and health inspector
Robert Johnen, civil engineer
Kirk Harman, education field services

Persons Interviewed

B.J. Hoadley Quarries, Inc.
Patsy Fell, president
Bert Fell, Jr., vice president of operations
David Fell, vice president of sales
Carl Anderson, superintendent
Larry Anderson, loader operator
James Anderson, block sawyer
John Wheeler, equipment operator