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Surface Nonmetal Mine
Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

August 20, 2002

Locust Mt. Quarry
Washington County Highway Department
Jonesboro, Washington County, Tennessee
Mine I.D. No. 40-00122

Accident Investigators

Donald B. Craig
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Donald D. Baker
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Delilah G. Tessaro
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Ronald Medina
Mechanical Engineer

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Southeast District
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212; Birmingham, AL 35209
Martin Rosta, District Manager


Tony W. Strickland, bin puller/truckdriver, age 20, was fatally injured on August 20, 2002, when he was struck by a haulage truck as it was backing up.

The accident occurred because the truckdriver was unable to maintain sight of the victim while backing his truck.

Strickland had a total of 13 months mining experience, all at this operation as a bin puller/truck driver. He had received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 46.


Locust Mt. Quarry, a crushed limestone operation, owned and operated by Washington County Highway Department, was located eight miles north of Jonesboro, Washington County, Tennessee, adjacent to Asphalt Plant Road. The principal operating official was John B. Deakins, Jr., roads superintendent. The mine normally operated one eight-hour shift, five days a week. Total employment was 10 persons.

Limestone was mined from a multiple bench quarry accessed by decline roadways. Drilled and blasted material was loaded by front-end loader or hydraulic shovels, then transported by haul trucks to the primary crushing plant where it was crushed, screened, and stockpiled. The finished product was used by the county for construction and maintenance of county roads.

The last regular inspection at this operation was completed August 13, 2002.


On the day of the accident, Tony W. Strickland (victim) reported to work at 7:30 a.m., his normal starting time. Strickland performed various maintenance tasks throughout the morning and work proceeded without incidence. At about 8:30 a.m., Strickland and David Jones, bin puller/truck driver, began to empty material from the bins. They backed their trucks under the bins, released the material into the trucks and transported the material to a nearby stockpile. The bins were being emptied so that a different size material could be processed. Strickland was pulling from one bin and Jones was pulling from the adjacent bin. Controls to release the material were located on the drivers' side of both bins between the support beams. This made it necessary for the drivers to get out of their trucks to activate the controls and watch the material being loaded. Jones continued to pull material and haul it to the stockpile but the material in the bin Strickland was pulling was not flowing properly. Eddie France, Jr., plant operator, went up to the walkway access level of the bin to find out why the material was not flowing. Strickland was outside of his truck, standing between the two truck loading bays communicating with France while France started dislodging the bridged material. At about 9:00 a.m., France saw Jones backing his truck under the bin he had been loading from. France yelled to Strickland to watch out as he was in the path of the backing tuck; however, Jone's right rear dump bed struck Strickland. Jones was not aware that he had hit Strickland and continued backing the truck until he felt the tire hit a bump. He pulled forward, got out of his truck to investigate and saw Strickland lying on the ground.

France immediately attended to Strickland while Jones traveled to the shop and instructed them to call for medical assistance. After Strickland's condition was assessed, another call was placed to request a helicopter ambulance.

Rescue workers arrived a short time later and Strickland was transported by helicopter to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Cause of death was attributed to crushing injuries.


MSHA was notified of the accident at about 10:15 a.m., on August 20, 2002, by a telephone call from Claudine France, personnel/insurance clerk for Washington County Highway Department, to Clarence F. Holliway, acting supervisory mine safety and health inspector in Knoxville, Tennessee. An investigation was started that day. An order was issued under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Act to ensure the safety of the miners. MSHA's accident investigators traveled to the mine, made a physical inspection of the accident scene, interviewed employees, and reviewed conditions and work procedures relevant to the accident. MSHA conducted the investigation with the assistance of mine management and employees.


  • The accident occurred under the crusher run truck load-out bins in the secondary plant. There were two adjacent bins at the plant separated by a concrete island with three steel I-beams that supported the bin structure. The width of the truck loading areas between the end and center support beams measured about 10 feet wide and 26 feet long and 12 feet high.

  • The concrete island between the hopper bays was 24 inches wide and 12 inches high. The front of the island tapered to a rounded end that was 16 inches wide. The top surface of the concrete island was deteriorated and the concrete had spalled, creating a curved surface in the area. There were no tire marks found on the side of the island or any fresh scuff marks on the sidewall of the truck's right rear tire.

  • A conveyor, located directly behind the bins, required the stockpile truck drivers to back their vehicles under the bins to load material.

  • The truck involved in the accident was a 1981 GMC model TC7D042, equipped with a General Motors 366 cubic inch, 8-cylinder gasoline engine and a five speed Clark model 285V manual transmission. The truck measured 8 feet wide, 18 feet, 4 inches long and 7 feet, 8 inches high to the top of the sideboards with a gross weight rating of 27,500 pounds.

  • The service brake consisted of an air-operated, two shoe, internal expanding drum-type arrangement at each wheel. Each brake chamber on the rear axle was composed of two Type 30 air chambers coupled together into one unit to serve two separate functions. The forward chamber provided service braking capability and the rear chamber provided parking brake capability. The Type 12 brake chambers on the front axles were single chambers that only provided service brake capability. When compressed air entered the service brake chambers, the push rods extended from the chamber and applied the service brake.

  • The service brakes were tested by operating the empty truck on a level, hard-packed, crushed limestone surface with the service brake fully applied. The brake stopped the truck when traveling in both the forward and reverse directions of travel, and had the capability of skidding the rear tires. The truck speed, at the time of testing, was approximately 5 to 10 miles per hour.

  • The throttle pedal and steering system were evaluated and no defects were found. The automatic reverse activated signal alarm was working properly when the gear selector was placed in reverse and was audible above surrounding noise.

  • The truck was equipped with a 16 inch by 7 inch flat mirror on both the left and right side of the truck cab. A 5-1/2 inch diameter round convex mirror was mounted under the left side mirror. A convex spotting mirror was not provided under the right side mirror. At the right rear corner of the truck, objects five to six feet high were visible in the right side mirror only if within 21 inches of the side of the truck. Objects farther away from the right side of the truck would not have been visible for a person the approximate size of the driver.

  • The truck's dump bed was equipped with two salt spreader box mounting pins that were 76 inches above the ground level and protruded about two inches from the rear left and the rear right sides of the dump bed.

  • The remote controls utilized to release the material from the bins were located on the drivers' side between the bin support structure. These controls were designed to be activated while the driver remained in the cab of the truck. Because the drivers were unable to see the material being loaded, they would exit the truck to use the controls to ensure that the material did not overflow from the bed of the truck.

  • Weather on the day of the accident was dry and clear.


    The cause of the accident was the truck driver's inability to maintain sight of the victim while backing the truck. Root causes included failure to establish procedures requiring truck drivers to stop backing when they loose sight of persons on foot behind their vehicles and the failure to require persons on foot to leave the area when mobile equipment is backing toward them.


    Order No. 6119423 was issued on August 20, 2002, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
    A fatal accident occurred at the secondary crushing plant at approximately 0900, when a 1981 GMC, model 7000, dump truck backed over an employee working in the bin area. This order is issued to assure the safety of all persons at this operation until the area can be returned to normal operations as determined by an authorized representative of the Secretary of Labor. The mine operator shall obtain prior approval from an authorized representative of the secretary for all actions to recover and/or restore operations to the affected area.
    This order was terminated on August 21, 2002. Company instructed employees in safe work practices and normal mining operations can resume.

    Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB02M24


    Persons Participating in the Investigation

    Washington County Highway Department
    John B. Deakins, Jr. .......... road superintendent
    Sherry Stalcup .......... administrative assistant
    Jackie Hensley .......... vehicle maintenance foreman
    Charles Eastep .......... truck driver
    Jerry Lyle Bitner .......... front-end loader operator
    Locust Mt. Quarry
    Thomas H. Roark, Sr. .......... quarry foreman
    Eddie W. France, Jr. .......... plant operator
    Raymond Hyatt .......... dozer operator
    James D. Rush .......... vehicle service writer
    Benny Massengill .......... haulage truck driver
    David Lynn Jones .......... bin puller/truck driver
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Donald B. Craig .......... supervisory mine safety and health inspector
    Donald R. Baker .......... mine safety and health inspector
    Delilah G. Tessaro .......... mine safety and health inspector
    Ronald Medina .......... mechanical engineer

    Persons Interviewed

    Washington County Highway Department
    James D. Rush .......... vehicle service writer
    Charles Eastep .......... truck driver
    Kennedy Carroll .......... truck driver
    Locust Mt. Quarry
    Thomas H. Roark, Sr. .......... quarry foreman
    Eddie W. France, Jr. .......... plant operator
    Raymond Hyatt .......... dozer operator
    Benny Massengill .......... quarry haulage truck driver
    David Lynn Jones .......... bin puller/truck driver