DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Accident Investigation Report
Fatal Powered Haulage Accident
Corson Lime Company
ID No. 36-00052
Corson Lime Company
Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
December 12, 1996
Michael J. Music
Supervisory Mine Safety & Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
230 Executive Drive, Suite 2
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, 16066-6415
James R. Petrie
Robert David, forklift/palletizer operator, age 44, was fatally injured at about 3:15 p.m., on December 12, 1996, when the forklift he was operating struck a standpipe and overturned. He was crushed under the vehicle's falling object protective structure (FOPS). David had a total of 20 years mining experience, all with Corson Lime Company, the last 6 years as a forklift/palletizer operator. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR
Tomas Mendez, vice president/plant manager, Corson Lime Company, notified MSHA at 3:40 p.m., on the day of the accident. An investigation was started the same day.
The Corson Mine was an open pit, multiple bench, crushed stone operation with an associated mill. It was owned and operated by Corson Lime Company, and was located in Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The principal operating official was Tomas Mendez. The quarry operated one, 9-hour shift a day, 5 days per week. The mill operated three, 8-hour shifts a day, 7 days per week. Ninety-nine persons were employed.
Dolomite was drilled, blasted, and transported by truck to the mill where it was crushed, sized, and stockpiled. Milled rock was sold as aggregate and further processed through kilns into lime for industrial and agricultural use.
The last regular inspection of this operation was conducted on October 31, 1996. Another inspection was conducted in conjunction with this investigation.
The accident occurred outside the customer loading entrance to the bag lime warehouse. A fire hydrant was located next to this entrance, about 45 inches from the side of the building. Three iron pipes, with �-inch wall thickness, were located around the hydrant. Two of the pipes were 10 inches in diameter, 33 inches high, painted "safety yellow," and filled with concrete. These two pipes served as guard posts to protect the fire hydrant from damage. One post was about 32 inches from the hydrant, facing the parking lot, and 68 inches from the side of the warehouse. The other post was about 42 inches from the hydrant, facing the entrance to the warehouse, and was about 24 inches from the side of the warehouse.
The third pipe, which was the one struck by the forklift, was 11 inches in diameter, unpainted, and protruded 9� inches above the ground. This pipe was buried 32 inches and enclosed the shut-off valve for the hydrant. The standpipe was facing away from the warehouse about 27 inches from the hydrant, 32 inches from the guard post facing the parking lot, and 60 inches from the guard post facing the entrance to the warehouse.
The standpipe had been struck by the forklift with considerable force and had been pushed approximately 6 inches toward the entrance to the warehouse. The tire tread impression on the side of the standpipe facing the parking lot matched the tread design on the forklift's right front tire. After the forklift was righted, its right front tire was positioned consistent with having struck the standpipe. There were no witnesses to the accident and although the speed of the forklift could not be precisely determined, the damage to the standpipe indicated that the forklift may have been traveling near the manufacturer's rated maximum speed of 11.7 mph.
The vehicle involved in the accident was a Caterpillar, model V50E, forklift truck, serial number 05NG00428, with a rental I.D. number 9530. This unit had been delivered to the Corson Mine on December 10, 1996, for use in the warehouse to load customer trucks. It was rented from Ransome Lift located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The forklift measured 80.7 inches high, 45.2 inches wide, and 97.9 inches long. It weighed 9700 pounds and was equipped with 7.00/15 pneumatic tires on the front and 6.50/10 tires on the rear. The vehicle FOPS sustained some structural damage when the unit overturned. Inspection of the vehicle, after the accident, by MSHA and Ransom Lift revealed that all systems were functioning normally.
The vehicle was equipped with seatbelts, however, they were not worn by the operator at the time of the accident. A warning label on the underside of the forklift's FOPS instructed the driver to "fasten belt," and in case of a tipover, "don't jump," "hold on tight," "brace feet," and "lean away." The mine operator did not have a policy requiring forklift operators to wear seatbelts.
The forklift was not carrying a load when it overturned and the forks were in a lowered position, approximately 14 inches from the ground. Vision to the front of the forklift was partially obstructed by the forklift's mast channels and cross head. The driver's vision may have been further obscured due to the weather conditions at the time of the accident. It was raining and the rain could easily enter the operator's compartment and splatter the safety glasses David was believed to have been wearing. A pair of safety glasses was found on the ground next to the victim. The rain also would have been dripping off the warehouse's eaves, falling in the area of the standpipe.
The area where the accident occurred was level, with a portion of it being hard surfaced and covered with wet lime dust. There were no other obstructions in the area which would have affected the driver's vision or prevented him from staying clear of the posts surrounding the hydrant. The temperature was in the low 40� F range.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Robert David, victim, reported for work at 7:00 a.m., his normal starting time. His regular duties were to load bagged lime onto pallets, and use the forklift to store the pallets in the warehouse or load them onto customer trucks. The shift had progressed normally until approximately 3:10 p.m., twenty minutes before the end of David's shift. At that time, Gerald Salvo, a co-worker, observed David drive the forklift to the parking lot by the warehouse.
While driving the forklift back to the warehouse, David struck the 9� inch high standpipe and the unit overturned. Salvo found David about 3:20 p.m., pinned under the unit's FOPS with his feet facing away from the operator's cab. Salvo checked for vital signs, found none, and immediately summoned help. A call was placed to 911, and while the rescue squad was en route, Salvo used the other forklift from the warehouse to lift the overturned unit off of David. The rescue squad arrived a short time later and was unsuccessful in their attempts to resuscitate David.
After the accident, David's personal vehicle was found in the parking lot with both the hood and trunk open and its engine running.
The primary cause of the accident was the failure to adequately mark or barricade the 9-inch high standpipe located in front of the fire hydrant. Possible contributing factors were obstructed visibility due to the forklift's mast channels and cross head, and the rainy weather conditions. Additionally, the forklift may have been traveling too fast for conditions. Contributing to the severity of the accident were the lack of a company policy requiring forklift operators to wear seatbelts, and the victim's failure to wear the provided seatbelt.
Order No. 4296112
Verbally issued at about 3:45 p.m. on December 12, 1996, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act.
Issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on January 14, 1997, for violation of CFR 56.9100(b).
Citation No. 7705206
Issued under the provisions of Section 104(a) on January 14, 1997, for violation of 30 CFR 56.9101.
\\s\\ Michael J. Music
Supervisory Mine Safety & Health Inspector
\\s\\ Jon Montgomery
Mine Safety & Health Inspector
Approved by: James R. Petrie, District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: