METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY – On September 21, 2016, a 52 year old contract drill operator / mechanic, with more than 30 years of experience, was killed at a limestone mine while performing maintenance on a truck-mounted rotary drill. At the time of the accident, the victim was attempting to remove the spindle cap from the top of the drill head while standing on the drilling deck. The victim was using a modified pipe wrench in an attempt to loosen the spindle cap using the machine’s drill rotation hydraulics by reaching into the operator’s compartment. As the victim activated the drill rotation lever, the wrench swung and struck him. The force of the impact knocked him against the operator’s cab, denting the frame and breaking the side window while the rotating wrench pierced his abdomen. As the victim attempted to climb down an adjacent step ladder, he was observed falling to the ground and striking his head. The victim was transported to a local hospital and died later that day as a result of his injuries.
- Establish and discuss safe work procedures to be used while performing maintenance on machinery. Incorporate the manufacturer's recommended operating procedures into related safety and task training programs.
- Train all persons to recognize the potential hazards and understand safe work procedures to eliminate hazards before beginning work.
- Ensure that machinery components are blocked against hazardous motion prior to performing maintenance or repairs.
- Use appropriate equipment and hand tools for the job.
- Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.
- Stay inside of the drill cab when operating the drill.
- Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.
This is the 13th fatal reported in calendar year 2016 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2015, there were 15 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the 3rd fatality classified as machinery in 2016. There were 4 machinery accident classification fatalities in the same period in 2015.