DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION REPORT
SURFACE NONMETAL MINE
FATAL HAND TOOLS ACCIDENT
Omnivest Resources No. 1
Omnivest Resources, L.P.
Ft. Gaines, Clay County, Georgia
September 21, 1995
William L. Wilkie
Supervisory Mine Inspector
Charles M. Kelley
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Otis C. Flowers, front-end loader operator/laborer, age 51, was seriously injured at approximately 8:15 a.m. on September 21, 1995, when he fell approximately 14 feet to ground level. He died as a result of his injuries at 12 midnight the same day. The victim had a total of nine months mining experience, all at this mine.
The MSHA Macon, Georgia Field Office was notified of the accident at 9:30 a.m. on September 22, 1995. An investigation was started immediately.
Omnivest Resources No. 1, a lightweight aggregate operation owned and operated by Omnivest Resources, L.P., was located 6-1/2 miles south of Ft. Gaines on the west side of State Highway 39, Clay County, Georgia. The principal operating official was George H. Stephens III, general manager. The mine normally operated one, 8-hour shift a day, on an intermittent basis. The plant was operated two, 12-hour shifts, as needed. A total of 37 people was employed.
Clay was mined by an excavator from a single bench, and then transported by haul trucks to the pit crusher. The material was then conveyed to the plant where it was processed through kilns, recrushed, screened and sold as lightweight aggregate.
The last regular inspection of this operation was conducted
August 25, 1995. The victim had received annual refresher
training on March 20, 1995.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
The accident occurred at the twin multi-cyclone scrubbers which consisted of two 10-feet diameter by 47 feet high tanks, supported by 8X8 inch structural steel beams anchored to concrete piers. The total height of the structure measured approximately 65 feet.
Two walkways were located approximately 27 feet and 37 feet above ground level for the purpose of gaining access to inspection ports of the scrubber tanks.
The function of the scrubbers was to collect the aggregate dust from the kiln. The air, gases, and dust were blown through the lower section of the scrubbers and up through the multi-cyclones where they were cleaned by water sprays. The air and gases were exhausted through stacks and the dust and water mixture was discharged out the bottom into the slurry discharge troughs, then to a mixing tank.
At the time of the accident the victim was working in the metal
slurry discharge trough which was half-round and measured 14"
deep, 22" wide, and was approximately 14' above ground level. He
was not wearing a safety belt and line.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Otis C. Flowers, reported to work at 7:00 a.m., his regular starting time. His primary occupation was front-end loader operator; however, on this day the plant was not in operation. He and his co-workers were assigned the task of removing the buildup of material that had formed on the walls of the scrubber tanks and in the slurry discharge troughs.
While Flowers was cleaning the slurry discharge trough, Michael Lindsey, kiln burner operator, was standing on the upper walkway, hitting the outside of the scrubber tank with an 8-pound sledge hammer to loosen a buildup of material. As he was swinging the sledge hammer, he lost his grip and the hammer fell through the area between the two scrubber tanks. Apparently, the hammer bounced off the sides of the scrubber tanks and supporting crossbraces as it fell, and struck the victim, causing him to lose his balance and fall from the scrubber discharge trough.
According to several co-workers who witnessed the accident, it
appeared that as the victim fell he struck a pipeline, the steel
structure and a concrete pier. They immediately went to Flowers
and began administering first aid. An ambulance was called and
arrived approximately 20 minutes later. The victim was
transported to Blakley Memorial Hospital in Blakley, Georgia and
later transferred to Southeast Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama,
where he died at 12:00 midnight as a result of massive head
The primary cause of the accident was the performance of work
from an unsafe, elevated position without a safety belt and line.
A contributing factor was the blow from the falling hammer which
caused the victim to lose his balance and fall.
Citation No. 4358389 was issued on September 26, 1995, under the provisions of 104(a) for violation of Standard 56.15005:
On September 21, 1995, at 8:15 a.m., an employee was fatally injured when he fell approximately 14 feet after being struck by a falling sledge hammer that had been accidently dropped by an employee working 20 feet above. The victim was standing in a rounded scrubber drain trough approximately 14 feet above ground level. The blow from the hammer caused the victim to lose his balance and fall. He struck a 2-inch water pipe, a supporting angle brace, and a concrete support pillar as he fell to the ground. The victim was not wearing a safety belt and line to prevent him from falling.Citation No. 4358390 was issued on September 26, 1995, under the provisions of 103(d) for violation of Standard 50.10:
This citation was terminated on October 11, 1995. The requirements of 30 CFR, 56.15005 had been discussed in a safety meeting with employees on October 4, 1995. The company's safety belt policy was stressed.
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on September 21, 1995 at 8:15 a.m. The injured employee died on September 21, 1995 at midnight. The mine operator did not immediately notify MSHA of the accident. MSHA was notified at 9:50 a.m. on September 22, 1995.
This citation was terminated on September 26, 1995, at 11:50 a.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
/s/ William L. Wilkie
Supervisory Mine Inspector
/s/ Charles M. Kelley
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: