METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On February 14, 2012, a 40 year-old mine owner with 8 years of experience was killed at a shale operation. The victim was operating an excavator with a rock breaker attachment. He was breaking and mining material from a near vertical wall when the face fell onto the cab of the excavator, crushing him.
- Operate excavators with the cab and tracks perpendicular to, and away from, the highwall.
- Bench or slope the material to maintain stability and to safely accommodate the type of equipment used. Do not undercut material on the face of a slope, bank, or highwall.
- Examine highwalls, slopes, and banks from as many perspectives as possible (bottom, sides, and top/crest) while maintaining the safety of the examiner(s). Look for signs of cracking, bulging, sliding, toppling or other signs of instability. Record the type and location of hazardous conditions.
- Use auxiliary lighting during non-daylight hours to conduct highwall examinations and to illuminate active work areas.
- Perform supplemental examinations of highwalls, banks, benches, and sloping terrain in the working area.
- Immediately remove all personnel exposed to hazardous ground conditions and promptly correct the unsafe conditions. When the conditions can not be corrected, barricade and post signs to prevent entry.
- Remove loose or overhanging material from the face. Correct hazardous conditions by working from a safe location.
This is the 2nd fatality reported in calendar year 2012 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there was 1 fatality reported in these industries. This is the 1st Fall of Highwall fatality in 2012. There were no Fall of Highwall fatalities in the same period in 2011.