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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On May 23, 2012, a 36 year-old foreman with about 9½ years of experience was killed at a sand and gravel operation. He was operating an excavator on a dike separating two ponds. The ground beneath the excavator tracks failed and the excavator toppled into one of the ponds.


Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above

Best Practices

  • Examine work areas to identify all hazards and remediate before starting any work.
  • Evaluate the stability of the ground (slopes and berms) prior to operating equipment near any drop off or edge.
  • Always be attentive to changes in ground conditions and visibility when operating machinery.
  • Perform the work at a safe distance away from the edge of a pond or where the stability of the ground may be unknown.
  • If a potential hazard is present, use long reach equipment to limit exposure and maintain a safe distance away.
  • Consider areas that have experienced previous slope failures to be unstable and do not approach until the area is evaluated for stability.
  • Wear flotation devices where there is a danger of falling into water.
  • Be alert to changes in ground conditions such as cracking, bulging, sloughing, undercutting, and erosion.

  • 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 7th fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there were 5 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the 1stMachinery fatality in 2012. There was 1 Machinery fatality in the same period in 2011.


    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