United States
Department of Labor

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Fatality Alert - Fatality #10 - July 15, 2015

Accident Report: Fatality Reference: 
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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY –On July 15, 2015, a 25-year old contractor with 6 months of experience was killed at a Kaolin processing plant. The victim was working alone and entered a railcar to wash out residual product.  The victim was later found unresponsive inside the railcar.

A railcar that the victim was cleaning
Best Practices: 
  • Oxygen deficiency is the leading cause of confined space fatalities.  Check the atmosphere inside the confined space for adequate oxygen, toxic contamination and accumulation of flammable gases with a suitable gas detector before entering the confined space.  Wear supplied air respirators when making these examinations.
  • Prior to use, gas detection equipment should calibrated or bump tested per manufacturer recommendations and miners should be task trained in the use of such equipment.
  • Miners working within confined spaces should never work alone.  Ensure that a trained person is posted outside the confined space to monitor the miner working in the confined space. The miner working in the confined space should be attached to a lifeline.
  • The person outside of the confined space should be ready to summon help if the miner inside the confined space requires assistance. The person monitoring should carry a portable radio to call for assistance in an emergency.  No miner should ever enter a confined space to conduct a rescue without awareness of the hazard(s) present and appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Purging of the confined space to remove contaminants should be done before entry by means of a high volume of fresh air flow. Mechanical ventilation may be necessary to ensure an adequate supply of fresh air is provided for miners working in the confined space.
  • Miners MUST be adequately informed and trained for the hazards they will encounter. The mine operator should have a plan that addresses confined space entry, monitoring, (attendance) and rescue specific to the types of confined spaces at the mine.  
Additional Information: 

This is the 10th fatality reported in calendar year 2015 in metal and nonmetal mining.  As of this date in 2014, there were 16 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining.