DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
South Central District
Metal/Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE NONMETAL MINE
FATAL MACHINERY ACCIDENT
Arab Stone, Inc. (Quarry)
Mine I.D. No. 23-02063
Arab Stone, Inc.
Arab, Bollinger County, Missouri
February 17, 1995
Harold R. Yount
Mine Safety and Health Specialist
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
South Central District
1100 Commerce Street, Room 4C50
Dallas, Texas 75242-0499
Doyle D. Fink, Acting District Manager
David L. Myers, driller, was fatally injured at about 4:15 p.m. on February 17, 1995, when his coat sleeve became entangled on a rotating drill steel while drilling with an air track drill. His clothing was wound up on the drill steel to the extent that he was strangled. Myers had seven months total mining experience, all at this mine. Most of his mining experience was as a driller.
Doyle D. Fink, Acting District Manager for the MSHA South Central District, Dallas, Texas, was notified of the accident by a telephone call from Earl R. Stratton, Superintendent for Arab Stone, Inc. at about 5:00 p.m., February 17, 1995. An investigation was begun on February 18.
The principal operating official was Earl R. Stratton, Superintendent. The Arab Stone, Inc. quarry and plant was owned and operated by Arab Stone, Inc..
The Arab Stone, Inc. Quarry and Plant was located at Arab, Bollinger County, Missouri. This surface operation produced aggregates for concrete, road base, and asphalt. A total of eight employees normally worked one 8-hour shift a day, five or six days a week. The miners were not represented by a union and no one had been designated as a miners' representative.
Arab Stone, Inc. used conventional drilling and blasting procedures to mine limestone in the multiple bench quarry. Frontend loaders and haul trucks were used to transport the material from the quarry to the plant. The plant consisted of a crusher, screens, bins and belt conveyors.
MSHA is prohibited by congressionally imposed budget restrictions from enforcing the training requirements of 30 CFR, Part 48, Subpart B at this operation. Stratton said he spent two days task training Myers on the air track drill.
Information for this report was obtained by interviewing company
officials and employees and conducting an on site investigation.
The last regular inspection was conducted on September 21 and 22,
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
A Gardner Denver Model 3100 air track was involved in the accident. The Gardner Denver PR123J drill was mounted on an eighteen feet long mast. The drill steel was 1� inches in diameter, hexagon shaped, twelve feet long and fitted with a three inch bit. The control valves for the drill were mounted on the left side of the mast about 42-inches above ground level.
There were four control valve levers, one each for blow, rotation, feed and hammer drill.
The deputy coroner's pictures show the rotation valve in the forward (ON) position and all other valves in the (OFF) position following the accident. A manually operated centralizer was used to stabilize the steel while collaring the hole. A Joy 650 air compressor supplied 95 to 100 pounds per square inch of compressed air for drilling.
The company was drilling blast holes ten feet deep on the top ledge in preparation for benching from the top down. At the time of the accident the hole being drilled was about fifteen inches from a two feet high ledge. The hole had been collared through red clay and was drilled to a depth of 46-inches. The centralizer was found in the open position. Reportedly Myers would sometimes reach down and disengage the centralizer by hand with the rotation turned off. Accident photos show Myers positioned in front of the drill between the drill steel and the ledge and seated on the ledge.
Myers was wearing a loose fitting jacket. When the clothing was
removed from the drill steel, it was evident that one corner of
the right jacket sleeve first started to wind up on the drill
steel just above the centralizer. Myer's jacket, long sleeve
plaid shirt, and insulated under shirt had wound up tight enough
to cause strangulation and to fracture his neck. The drill
rotation had stalled when the clothing wound on the drill steel.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
David L. Myers, victim, reported to work at his normal 7:00 a.m. starting time. Earl R. Stratton, Superintendent assigned Myers and three other employees to work on setting concrete forms for pouring footings for load out bins. They worked on the forms until about 11:00 a.m.. Myers and two other workers stopped to eat lunch at 11:30 a.m.. After they finished lunch, the concrete truck arrived and Myers helped pour the concrete footings.
At about 3:00 p.m., Myers was no longer needed to finish the concrete work, so he went up to the top ledge of the quarry wall to start drilling. Stratton said he went up on the hill at about 4:00 p.m. and he could see and hear that Myers was still drilling. He did not, however, go up to the drill site. Stratton stopped and talked to the dozer operator who was pushing material off a ledge some distance down the hill from the drill site. At about 4:15 p.m., Stratton returned to the concrete pouring location. The dozer operator brought the dozer down for fueling at about 4:20 p.m. and went home. Myers had not yet returned from the drill site, so Stratton went to check on him.
Stratton said that as he approached the drill, he noticed that the air compressor was still running but he did not hear the drill operating. When he was within fifteen feet of the drill, he noticed that Myers did not have a shirt on. He approached Myers, checked for a pulse and found none. Myers' clothes were entangled on the drill steel and pulled up around his neck.
Stratton immediately shut off the compressor, returned to the mine site and called Mr. Rhodes. Mrs. Rhodes is part owner of the mine. Don Rhodes called for an ambulance, the coroner and the sheriff.
When the paramedics arrived they checked for vital signs and
noted there was nothing they could do for Mr. Myers. The
paramedics cut the entangled clothing off him and the deputy
coroner from Marble Hill, Bollinger County, Missouri, pronounced
him dead at 6:00 p.m..
The accident was caused by the victim's failure to stay clear of
the rotating drill steel. He had positioned himself in a
relatively small area between a ledge and the drill steel. This
allowed his loose clothing to become entangled with the rotating
A 103K order was issued at 1030 hours on February 18, 1995, to prohibit use of the Gardner Denver Model 3100 air track drill until MSHA could complete an investigation into the cause of the accident.
Citation Number 4107927 was issued April 12, 1995, under
provisions of section 104(a) for violation of Standard 56.7005:
A fatal accident occurred at about 1615 hours on February 17, 1995 when David L. Myers, the track drill operator's coat sleeve became entangled on the rotating drill steel and wound his coat and shirt upon the drill steel and strangled him. He did not stay clear of the drill stem that was in motion.
Respectively submitted by:
/s/ Harold R. Yount
/s/ Kenneth McCleary Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Doyle D. Fink
Acting District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: