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Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Report of Investigation

Underground Metal Mine

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

April 5, 2001

Trixie Mine
Tintic Utah Metals LLC
Eureka, Utah County, Utah
ID No. 42-00147

Accident Investigators

Joseph O. Steichen
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Terry D. Power
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Thomas E. Lobb
Physical Scientist

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


Leonard G. Jacobson, lead miner, age 54, was fatally injured on April 5, 2001, when the Eimco Model 22, overshot loader he was operating derailed and pinned him against the rib. Jacobson was working in the 600 south heading when the accident occurred.

The accident occurred because of the failure to maintain the loader, railroad and the drift where the loader operated.

Jacobson had a total of 30 years mining experience as an underground miner, 20 years at this mine. He had received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.


Trixie mine, a multi-level underground gold mine, owned by Chief Consolidated Mining Company, operated by Tintic Utah Metals LLC, was located 2 miles southeast of Eureka, Utah County, Utah. The principle operating official was Jerry Stacey, mine manager. The mine was normally operated three, 8-hour shifts a day, five days a week. A total of 26 persons were employed, of this number 12 persons worked underground.

The mine was in the development stage at the time of the accident. Ore was drilled, blasted, and loaded into bottom dump rail cars using a track-mounted overshot loader (track mucker). The material was then transported to the surface where it was stockpiled.

The last regular inspection was conducted at this operation on November 22, 2000. Another regular inspection was conducted following this investigation.


On the day of the accident, Leonard G. Jacobson (victim) reported for work at 11:00 p.m., his normal starting time. Jacobson, Ryan Warenski, miner; Jonathan Beddoes, miner helper; and Kyle Hansen, shift foreman, were assigned to work in the 600 south development area. They were to remove blasted material from the 600 south drift and continue laying track in the 607 heading drift. Jacobson decided to start removing material from the 600 south drift so the drillers could work while track was being laid at the 607 heading.

As Jacobson began operating the track mucker, he caught the left rib with the bucket causing the machine to raise off the track and pin him against the rib. When he released his hold on the controls, the back of the mucker came to rest off the tracks. Hansen was observing the operation from the entrance of the 607 heading and witnessed the accident. He immediately shut down the equipment and aided Jacobson. Warenski arrived and began administering first aid to the victim. The hoist operator was notified and asked to call an ambulance. Beddoes, who was transporting ore to the surface from the station, was notified and also came to help.

Warenski and Beddoes administered CPR until the ambulance crew arrived. At 11:30 p.m., Jacobson was pronounced dead at the scene by the county deputy. Death was attributed to crushing injuries to the chest and abdomen.


MSHA was notified at 1:00 a.m., on the day of the accident by a telephone call from John Sutherland, mine superintendent, to Irvin T. Hooker, Rocky Mountain district manager. An accident 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 persons and reviewed documents relative to the job being performed 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 miners. The miners did not request, nor have, representation during the investigation.


     The accident occurred at the 600 south and 607 heading drift intersection. The intersection was about 13 feet wide and narrowed into the 600 drift which was about 8 feet wide and 10 feet high. The intersection and drift were littered with blasted material that covered a large portion of the rail and ties. The tight area (protruding rock) on the lower rib and floor of the drift curve was about 30 inches from the left rail.

     The loader was a track-mounted Eimco Model 22, overshot loader powered by two air motors. The bucket capacity was about eight cubic feet. The empty weight of the loader was approximately 7,030 pounds. The turntable (swing) was air-cylinder powered providing bucket swing widths of 90-110 inches.

     The loader operator's platform consisted of a removable steel step-plate latched to the lower deck. The step-plate was about 12 inches wide and 18 inches long.

     The control system consisted of spool type valves located on the left side panel. The controls were spring-centered to the closed position so that the machine stopped when the control levers were released. The system was functional.

     Examination and testing of the machine found operational defects of the bucket swing stops. The swing stops could not be adjusted to limit the bucket swing.

     The mucking operation had been conducted on a tight left-hand curve and across a track switch in an area with minimal clearance.

     The operator's step-plate was in close proximity to the left drift rib (tunnel wall) immediately prior to the accident. Clearance from the operator's step-plate to the left rib measured 10-1/2 inches.

     There was a visual obstruction of two J-hooks and a rolled up water hose in the line of sight to the left side of the rib.

     A rock protruded from the left rib at the bottom corner. There was a mark on the rock that corresponded with a mark on the left edge of the loader bucket.

     Impacting the protruding rock with the loader bucket would have stopped the loader immediately, and caused the operator to be thrown forward. Operation of the track mucker required the operator to grasp two control levers, one in each hand, during operation.

     The bucket control was activated by pulling it in the direction the victim was thrown. This in turn caused the rear of the loader to raise up off the track and swing into the left rib, crushing the victim.

     The track switch, the No. 4 frog and the inside of the right rail had a buildup of material to the point that the wheels of the loader were unable to contact the track. The front wheel flanges were worn 3/4-inch smaller than the rear wheel flanges.

     The track was sloped one-inch in 24 inches toward the left rib. This would assist the derailed rear portion of the loader to swing to the left. The track gauge was 24 inches with 40 pound/yard rail. The Eimco operator's manual recommended a minimum of 60 pound/yard rail be used with the Model 22.

     The victim was standing on the operator's step-plate holding on to the two control levers. As the loader impacted the left rib, momentum threw him forward, activating the control levers to a high level of torque position. As the bucket hit and stuck on the left rib, the rear of the loader derailed causing the rear of the machine to swing to the left and pin the victim against the rib. Once the control levers were relaxed, they self-centered, the bucket released and allowed the loader to come to rest on its wheels with the rear portion about six inches to the left of the track.


The root cause of the accident was the failure to install and maintain all elements of the railroad tracks to provide safe operation consistent with the type of haulage equipment being used. The failure to establish procedures requiring the maintenance and use of bucket swing stops was a contributing factor.


Order No. 6272116 was issued on April 6, 2001, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on April 5, 2001, when a miner operating an Eimco Model 22 track mucker at the 600 level south drift was pinned against the rib causing the mucker to tip. This order is issued to ensure the safety of persons at this operation until the affected areas and machinery 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 for all actions to recover equipment and to return affected areas of the mine to normal operations.
This order was terminated on June 25, 2001. The conditions that contributed to the accident no longer exist.

Citation No. 7935221 was issued on May 30, 2001, under the provisions of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 57.9307:
A fatal accident occurred on April 5, 2001, when a miner was crushed between the rib and the track mucker he was operating. All elements of the railroad tracks were not installed and maintained to provide safe operation consistent with the type of haulage used.
This citation was terminated on May 31, 2001. The mine operator as provided the clearance necessary for safe operation and the tracks were being maintained. The drift width has been increased.

Citation No. 7935222 was issued on May 30, 2001, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 57.14100(b):
A fatal accident occurred at this mine when a miner was crushed between the rib and the track mucker he was operating. The bucket swing stops were not maintained in functional condition. There was a wooden wedge forced into the left stop and the right stop was rusted open.
This citation was terminated on May 31, 2001. The mine operator repaired the bucket swing stops.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB00M08


Tintic Utah Metals LLC
Paul Spor .......... Executive Director
Jerry Stacey .......... Mine Manager
John Sutherland .......... Mine Superintendent
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Joseph O. Steichen .......... Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Terry Power .......... Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Tim B. Hannifin .......... Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Thomas Barrington .......... Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Thomas E. Lobb .......... Physical Scientist

Persons Interviewed

Tintic Utah Metals LLC
Jerry Stacey .......... Mine Manager
Paul Spor .......... Executive Director
Kyle Hansen .......... Shift Foreman
John Sutherland .......... Mine Superintendent
David J. Hansen .......... Hoistman
Bill Green .......... Lead Miner
Lee Jolley .......... Foreman/Leadman
Ryan Warenski .......... Miner
Lindon Reynolds .......... Shift Foreman
Jonathan Beddoes .......... Miner's Helper
Aemifio (Reggie) Bordillo .......... Lead Miner
Former employee�Tintic Utah Metals LLC
Brian Underwood