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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On August 12, 2010, a 38 year-old maintenance technician with 3 years of experience and a 47 year-old operations miner with 21 years of experience died at an underground gold mine. They were working from the top of a conveyance in a 16-foot diameter ventilation shaft attempting to locate and free a blockage in a 24-inch-diameter aggregate delivery pipe. While the conveyance was near the 820 foot level, the entire pipe from the shaft collar to the 860 level broke away and fell to the bottom at the 1330 foot level. The pipe struck the conveyance as it fell, causing the hoist drum to break away from its support base. The victims were found at the bottom of the shaft.

Photos of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above


Best Practices

  • Routinely examine pipe support structures for indications of excessive corrosion and cracked, missing, or damaged: clamps, brackets, support beams, and connections.
  • Conduct periodic visual and non-destructive examination on couplings and pipes for corrosion, abrasion thinning, cracking, and loose connections.
  • Inspect and test process monitoring systems to ensure safety controls are functioning properly.
  • Perform construction and maintenance in accordance with design drawings and specifications.
  • Minimize exposure to hazards by using equipment such as air cannons and vibrators to prevent or clear blockages.
  • Ensure that miners are in a safe position to avoid falling objects or materials.

  • 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.


    These are the 13th and 14th fatalities reported in calendar year 2010 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2009, there were 14 fatalities reported in these industries. These are the 3rd and 4th Falling Material fatalities in 2010. There were 3 Falling Material fatalities in the same period in 2009.


    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