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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On December 23, 2010, a 35 year- old contract blaster with 12 years of experience died at a crushed stone operation. After firing the blast, he immediately walked into the blast site to examine the shot material. The victim was approaching the edge of the shot material when the ground collapsed, engulfing him in the water-filled pit.


Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above

Best Practices

  • Conduct effective workplace examinations in areas where contractors are working. Identify all hazards, and take action to correct them.
  • Establish mining plans based on geological evaluations and implement procedures to effectively protect all persons.
  • Establish methods to identify subsurface cavities and voids such as advance drilling and geophysical surveys (ground penetrating radar - GPR), electrical resistivity, or other available methods.
  • Wait at least 15 minutes or longer before conducting post-blast inspections. Take additional time if geological anomalies or other hazards are identified during drilling or blasting.
  • Keep a safe distance from cracks or any other signs of unstable ground conditions.
  • Tie off using a secure anchorage zone.
  • Wear a life jacket where there is a danger from falling into water.

  • 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 fatality reported in calendar year 2010 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2009, there were 16 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the 5th Falling Material fatality 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