DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION
Surface Nonmetal Mine
(Construction Sand and Gravel)
Fatal Falling Material Accident
April 11, 2012
GS Materials Inc.
Lemon Springs, Harnett County, North Carolina
Mine I.D. No. 31-01990
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Specialist
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212 Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Michael A. Davis, District Manager
On April 11, 2012, James T. McNeill, Equipment Operator, age 48, was injured when the counterweight from an excavator fell and struck him. McNeill and Randy White, Plant Manager, were removing bolts from the counterweight in preparation to move the excavator to another mine site. Following the removal of the last of six bolts, the counterweight dropped to the ground. The victim was hospitalized and died on April 12, 2012, as a result of his injuries.
The excavator was purchased about four to five weeks prior to the accident. On the day of the accident, it was to be transported to another mine, owned by the same operator. Due to weight restrictions on the highways, the counterweight had to be removed prior to shipping. The excavator was purchased with an optional hydraulic assist cylinder that allows the counterweight to be removed and reassembled easily and safely.
The accident occurred due to management's failure to follow the manufacturer's procedures for removing the counterweight from the excavator. The excavator was equipped with a hydraulic system that secures and lowers the heavy counterweight to the ground safely; however, this system was not used on the day of the accident. Raised components were not secured to prevent accidental lowering when persons were working on or around mobile equipment and exposed to the hazards of accidental lowering of the component. The victim did not receive task training regarding the procedures to be followed in the health and safety aspects of the task before performing the new task.
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Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
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