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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On December 5, 2004, two mechanics were fatally injured at a surface copper operation. The miners worked for a contractor, retained by the mining company, to mine the reserves. One miner was 31 years old with 11 years experience and the other victim was 23 years old with 3 years experience. The mechanics were repairing the trip latch mechanism on an electric powered shovel bucket. The door was raised and a brace was welded to hold it in place. While they were working in the lower area of the bucket, the welded brace failed and the door released.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Before any work begins, miners should conduct a Risk Assessment to evaluate all tasks to identify and correct potential hazards, ensuring that the task can be safely performed.
  • Before working under a raised bucket door, ensure that the material used for blocking against hazardous motion is adequate and properly installed.
  • Examine work areas during the shift for hazards that may be created as a result of the work being performed.
  • Consult equipment manufacturers for guidance before repairs begin.
  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the 22nd and 23rd fatality reported in calendar year 2004 in Metal and Nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2003, there were 25 fatalities reported in these industries. These are the 3rd and 4th fatalities classified as Falling Material in 2004. There were three Falling Material fatalities in the same period in 2003.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report