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Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Report of Investigation

Underground Metal Mine

Fatal Hoisting Accident

August 24, 2000

Rodeo Vent Shaft
Barrick Goldstrike Mines, Inc.
Carlin, Eureka County, Nevada
ID No. 26-02300

Accident Investigators

Ronald D. Pennington
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Jeran C. Sprague
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Thomas D. Barkand
Electrical Engineer

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Rocky Mountain District
P.O. Box 25367, DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367
Irvin T. Hooker, District Manager


On August 24, 2000, Anthony Mark Ward, shaft miner, age 41, was fatally injured when he was struck by the shaft-sinking bucket. This accident occurred on the fourth deck of the Galloway shaft- sinking work platform.

The accident occurred because the operator did not ensure that workers were clear of the suspended loads while working in the fourth deck of the Galloway shaft-sinking work platform.

Ward had a total of 18 years underground mining experience, one month as a shaft miner at this operation. He had received at least 40 hours training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48 prior to being assigned to the Rodeo Vent Shaft mine.

A regular MSHA inspection was ongoing at the time of the fatal accident. This inspection was completed on August 31, 2000.


The Rodeo Vent Shaft mine, an underground ventilation shaft, will provide ventilation for the Miekle Mine operated by Barrick Goldstrike Mines Incorporated, was located 27 miles north of Carlin, Eureka County, Nevada. Principle operating officials were Richard Quesnel, Meikle Mine manager; Chantal Lavoie, Rodeo project superintendent; James D. Jannetto, director of underground safety and health; and David C. Sheffield, superintendent of safety and health. The accident occurred at the Rodeo ventilation shaft which was being sunk and developed into the existing underground workings of the Meikle Mine. The mine was operated, two, 12-hour shifts a day, 5 days a week. Total employment was 30 persons.

Pre-sinking work for the Rodeo ventilation shaft began in the latter part of 1999. Surface construction for the shaft-sinking facilities was completed in August, 2000, and the sinking work commenced immediately upon surface completion. Conventional mining methods were used in the shaft-sinking project including drilling, blasting and removal of the blasted material.


Anthony M. Ward (victim) reported for work at 7:30 p.m., on August 23, 2000, his regular starting time. Ward was a member of the shaft-sinking crew which consisted of nine miners, seven underground and two on the surface. Ward's job classification was shaft miner 3 and his duties varied throughout the course of the shift. During the shift, the victim assisted in all phases of the shaft-sinking process including rock bolting, blast-hole drilling, loading blast holes with explosives, general work on the Galloway and assisting the top lander.

Shaft-sinking activities progressed through the night with the crew performing about three hours of mucking and three hours of drilling. Around 5:00 a.m., on August 24, 2000, the explosives were lowered to the blasting crew at the bottom of the shaft. Ward assisted the other miners loading the blast holes. At approximately 6:00 a.m., Ward was hoisted to the fourth deck of the Galloway in the hoist bucket. While Ward was being hoisted, he was letting out blasting line from a spool which would be connected to the loaded blast holes and to the blasting box.

Ward exited the hoist bucket on the fourth deck. The hoist bucket was taken to the shaft collar where the unused explosives were removed. The top lander then signaled the hoistman to lower the hoist bucket into the bottom of the shaft.

There were four miners located at the bottom of the shaft waiting for the hoist bucket to be lowered to them. While waiting for the hoist bucket to be lowered, there was a conversation between Ward and the miners located approximately 65 feet below the fourth deck of the Galloway.

As the bucket was lowered and reached the crosshead and chairs, the hoistman flashed the lights to warn the miners on the bottom that the hoist bucket was being lowered. The leadman on the bottom was stationed at the bellcord and signaled the hoistman to continue to lower the hoist bucket.

The victim was leaning over the hoist bucket well handrail and was struck by the hoist bucket as it traveled downward to the shaft bottom. It was unlikely that the victim saw the hoistman flash the warning lights because the warning lights were mounted on the bottom of the hoist bucket.

The leadman on the bottom sensed that something was wrong and signaled the hoistman to stop lowering the hoist bucket. The mechanic located on the first level (lowest level) of the Galloway climbed the ladderway to the fourth deck and found the victim's body partially over the top handrail with his torso pinned between the shaft hoist bucket and the top handrail. While holding onto the victim, the mechanic used the bellcord to signal the hoistman to raise the hoist bucket off the victim. The mechanic pulled the victim back onto the work deck to prevent him from falling to the bottom of the shaft. As soon as the victim was safely placed on the work deck, the hoist bucket was lowered to the bottom of the shaft so the four miners could be raised to the victim's location.

A Stokes basket was lowered from the surface to the accident scene. The victim was secured in the basket and hoisted to the surface. He was transported by the company ambulance and by helicopter to the Elko Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7:52 a.m., from blunt force trauma.


MSHA was notified at 6:57 a.m., on the day of the accident by a telephone call from Michael Drussel, underground safety coordinator, to Tyrone Goodspeed, supervisory mine inspector. An investigation was started the same day. MSHA's investigation team traveled to the mine and made a physical inspection of the accident site, interviewed a number of employees and reviewed documents relative to the job being preformed by the victim and the equipment he was using. An order was issued pursuant to Section 103(k) of the Mine Act to ensure the safety of the miners. A miners' representative was present during the investigation.


  • The accident occurred on the fourth deck of the Galloway shaft-sinking staging. This staging consisted of five levels and was 61 feet high from the top of the crosshead chairs to the bottom of bucket well bell. The Galloway staging had an outside diameter of 15 feet 10 inches and weighed approximately 55,600 pounds. The staging was suspended in the 18-foot diameter concrete shaft by two, 1-3/8-inch diameter wire ropes each with resultant load strength of 385,000 pounds. The staging was lowered and raised by two 400-hp, 480-vdc motors with winches located on the surface. The Galloway staging also served as the emergency escapeway from the shaft.

  • Housed inside the Galloway staging was a Brutus mucker and three jumbo drills. In addition to housing the shaft-sinking equipment, the staging contained a 30-inch vent duct, a 5-foot 9-inch diameter cutout for the hoist bucket well. The bucket well passed through all five levels of the staging. A 3-foot 2-inch rectangular ladderway was located in the southwest portion of the staging. This ladderway linked all five work decks. Also housed in the staging were numerous pneumatic air lines, hydraulic lines, pipes, welders, hand tools and other equipment used on the shaft-sinking project. The walkways on all levels of the staging were narrow and congested.

  • The shaft-sinking bucket was 7 feet 6 inches high and 4 feet 8 inches in diameter with a capacity of 120 cubic feet or 7 tons. The bucket was made of steel and weighed 2,500 pounds.
  • The hoist, SN 7030-1213, was manufactured by the Norberg Company in 1974/1975. It was a single-drum with two compartments. The drum diameter was 12 feet 5 inches by 66- 7/8 inches per compartment. The hoist motors were twin, 400 hp, 400 rpm, Westinghouse motors powered by 600 vdc, with five 540 amp Dynapar digital deceleration controlling the braking system.

  • The wire hoisting rope was 1-3/8 inch diameter non-rotating with resultant load strength of 385,000 pounds. The initial destructive rope test was conducted on February 15, 2000.

  • The hoistman's last physical examination was on June 29, 2000.

  • The hoist was tested for upper limit control, braking, overspeed and overtravel. All safety devices were working and there were no mechanical defects that contributed to this fatal accident.

  • The fatal accident occurred on the fourth deck walkway between the No. 1 and No. 2 jumbo drill guide wells. A small narrow walkway approximately 18 inches wide provided access between these two jumbo wells. This walkway also provided access to the hoist bucket well. There was a 42-1/2-inch high metal circular protective handrail around the hoist bucket well to protect persons from falling. This handrail did not protect persons from contacting the hoist bucket as it traveled through the work deck. There was less than 8 inches of space between the handrails and the moving bucket while it was lowered or raised through the Galloway staging.

  • The investigators conducted a series of test runs with the hoist bucket traveling through the Galloway staging. The bucket was stopped at the crosshead where it was normally stopped before descending through the Galloway. The bottom of the bucket was measured to be less than 8 feet above the fourth deck floor. If the victim were actually leaning over the 3-1/2-foot high handrail and looking into the bucket well, he would not have seen the signal light. He would be struck by the descending bucket in less than 3 seconds after the hoistman received the bellcord signal to continue with lowering the bucket to the bottom.

  • The crosshead was located 24-1/2 feet above the fourth deck floor on which the victim was standing. The chain support apparatus and the hoist bucket had a total length of 13 feet 10 inches.


    The root cause of the accident was the operator's failure to ensure that workers were clear of the suspended loads. Contributing factors included: an inadequate warning system which gave ample notice to persons working on the Galloway staging when the hoist-bucket was traveling through the decks.


    Order No. 7989037 was issued on August 24, 2000, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
    A fatal accident occurred at this operation on August 24, 2000, when a miner was caught between a descending muck bucket and the top handrail on the fourth deck of a five deck Galloway.

    This order is issued to assure the safety of persons at this operation until the mine or affected areas can be returned to normal operations as determined by an authorized representative of the Secretary. The mine operator shall obtain approval from an authorized representative prior to returning affected areas of the mine to normal operations.

    This order was terminated on September 5, 2000. The operator has installed an automatic strobe light warning system on all five decks of the Galloway shaft sinking work platform. This warning system activates when the shaft-sinking bucket passes a sensor located 50 feet above the work platform. The strobe lights will activate on all five decks of the platform and will automatically deactivate when the bucket passes all five levels. As the bucket is raised through the work platform the warning lights will activate and then deactivate when it passes through the upper sensor.

    All employees were trained to move to a safe area away from the bucket well when the warning lights activate.

    The operator has established a policy for this warning system to be tested each shift. Should the system fail, all shaft-sinking operations will cease until the warning system is repaired and operable. The emergency power will operate all Galloway functions, all signals, lighting and the Galloway winches. In addition, the power to the bell signal and the warning system are independent of the main Galloway.

    Order 7989037 is terminated. Conditions that contributed to the accident have been corrected and normal mining operations can resume.

    Citation No. 7919806 was issued on August 24, 2000, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violations of 30 CFR 57.16009:
    At 6:20 a.m., on August 24, 2000, a fatal accident occurred on the fourth level of the Galloway work deck. This work platform was located in the Rodeo Vent Shaft and was used in the shaft-sinking project. The shaft-sinking bucket struck the victim as it was lowered to the shaft bottom to retrieve 4 miners that had finished loading blast holes. The victim was not in the clear of the suspended load.
    This citation was terminated on September 6, 2000. The company installed automatic strobe warning lights on the Galloway. The miners were instructed in safe work practices.

    Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB2000M35


    A. Persons Participating in the Investigation

    B. Persons Interviewed


    Persons participating in the Investigation

    Rodeo Vent Shaft
    Scott Herr ......... mine superintendent
    Chantal Lavoie ......... project superintendent
    David Sheffield ......... Barrick superintendent, safety and health
    Michael Drussel ......... underground safety coordinator James D. Jannetto ......... director of underground safety and health
    Lonnie R. Foutch ......... vent shaft, shift foreman
    John Sozio ......... general foreman for shaft construction
    Theodore A. Chidester ......... miners' representative
    State of Nevada, Department of Business and Industry, Mine Safety and Training Section
    Joseph N. Rhoades ......... mine inspector
    Timothy Kilbreath ......... mine inspector
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Ronald D. Pennington ......... supervisory mine safety and health inspector
    Jeran C. Sprague ......... mine safety and health inspector
    Thomas D. Barkand ......... technical support, mine electrical systems


    Persons Interviewed:

    Rodeo Vent Shaft
    Lonnie R. Foutch ......... shift foreman
    Jerry Walter Ashlock ......... shaft miner 4
    Kevin J. Melong ......... general supervisor, underground mining
    Michael Scott Sturgell ......... shaft miner 4
    Thomas Dale Kraus ......... shift mechanic, maintenance technician
    Ronald Allen McKinnon ......... shaft miner 4
    Brian John Fagg ......... top lander
    Curtis D. Pennington ......... hoistman
    James Donald Jannetto ......... director of underground, safety and health
    Randolph R. Skow ......... shaft miner 4