United States
Department of Labor

Search form


Fatality Alert - Fatality #17 - November 1, 2012

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
PDF Version: 

METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On November 1, 2012, a 30-year old contract driller with 6 years of experience was killed at a common shale operation. The victim apparently attempted to thread a new drill steel manually, with the use of a strap and the drill head rotating, when the rotating steel entangled him.

A drill
Best Practices: 
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards. Train all persons to recognize all potential hazards and understand safe job procedures to eliminate all hazards before beginning work.
  • Ensure that the manufacturer's procedures are followed when adding drill steels.
  • Ensure that emergency stop/shut-off switches, panic bars, dead man devices, tethers, slap bars, rope switches, two handed controls, spring loaded controls, are functional and in easily accessible locations.
  • Never manually thread drill steels when the drill head is rotating.
  • Drills should be fitted with automated systems for changing rods, or two persons should be present when rods are changed manually.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing when working around drilling machinery. Avoid using a strap or other objects that could become entangled with or thrown from moving or rotating parts.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to ensure procedures are followed.
Additional Information: 

This is the 17th fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there were 12 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the 3rd Machinery fatality in 2012. There were 2 Machinery fatalities in the same period in 2011.