United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #1 - January 26, 2013

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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COAL MINE FATALITY - - On Saturday, January 26, 2013, a 52-year-old contract welder with 30 years of experience was killed while doing maintenance on a bulldozer. The victim was performing work to remove a damaged wear plate from the bulldozer's center portion of the blade. At the time of the accident, a hydraulic jack was being used to push the wear plate away from the bulldozer blade. The victim was using an air chisel between the wear plate and the blade. The hydraulic jack slipped while the victim was using the air chisel and he was crushed between the blade and the damaged wear plate.

Photo of accident scene
Best Practices: 
  • Ensure the power is off and the equipment is blocked against motion prior to performing maintenance.
  • Devise safe methods to complete tasks involving large objects, massive weights, or where the release of stored energy is a possibility.
  • Provide proper task training.
  • Never use a hydraulic jack as the only tool for supporting large objects, massive weights, or objects that have the potential for the release of stored energy.
  • Avoid metal to metal contact because it slides much easier than wood or other materials against metal.
  • Ensure that all contact areas where jacks or other blocking materials are to be installed are free from grease or other substances to decrease the likelihood of shifting and sliding.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient space around equipment to enable work to be performed safely.
  • Consult and follow the manufacturer's recommended safe work procedures for the maintenance task and monitor work to ensure procedures are followed.
  • Ensure that contractors have safe work procedures in place for the specific task, machine, etc.
  • Before performing any job, consider all hazards and implement formal procedures that address possible hazards.
Additional Information: 

This is the first fatality reported during calendar year 2013 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2012, there was one fatality reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Machinery in 2013. At this time in 2012, there was no fatality in this classification.