DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine
Fatal Fall of Ground Accident
Hall Explosives Inc.
Contractor No. GM8
Global Stone PenRoc Inc.
York, York County, Pennsylvania
I.D. No. 36-00184
December 17, 1996
Dennis Yesko, Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Edward F. Skvarch, Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
230 Executive Drive, Suite 2
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16066-6415
James R. Petrie, District Manager
Ronald Kimmel, Jr., senior blaster/sales representative, age 36, was fatally injured at approximately 11:10 a.m., on December 17, 1996, when the ground on which he was standing collapsed. Kimmel was employed by Hall Explosives, Inc., an independent contractor that specialized in blasting. He had a total of 5 years 8 months mining experience all with this contractor, the last year as a senior blaster. Kimmel was trained in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48. This training addressed examination of ground for hazardous conditions.
Brian Glackin, environmental and safety engineer for Global Stone PenRoc Inc., notified MSHA on the day of the accident. The accident investigation was started the next day.
PenRoc was a surface, crushed stone operation with an associated mill. The operation was owned and operated by Global Stone PenRoc Inc., located in York, York County, Pennsylvania. The principal operating official was William Vest, general manager. The facility normally operated one, 9-hour shift per day, 5 � days per week, and an afternoon maintenance shift each day. Sixty-six persons were employed.
Hall Explosives, Inc., Hershey, Pennsylvania, was contracted to conduct blasting at PenRoc. The principal operating official was Daniel Ray Leach, president/treasurer. Hall Explosives employed a total of 28 persons, 4 of which were working at the mine on the day of the accident. They subcontracted drilling to York Drilling Company, Inc., York, Pennsylvania.
Limestone was mined by drilling and blasting multiple benches. Material was loaded by a front-end loader into trucks and hauled to the aggregate plant where it was crushed, screened, sized, washed and stockpiled. Depending upon stone quality, the principal uses of the final products were road and specialty construction.
The last regular inspection of PenRoc was completed on October 15, 1996.
The area where the accident occurred was located above Portal #1 of the abandoned underground South Mine (see Appendix B). Portal #1 was reportedly filled to within a few feet of the roof with mud and debris that had flowed in through joints and solution cavities. A second entry (Portal #2) was located southwest of Portal #1 and was separated from it by a pillar. The cap rock above Portal #1 was about 15 feet thick.
A shot had been set off just prior to the accident. The shot pattern was laid out in solid ground, with the nearest blasthole approximately 10 feet north of Portal #1. A Beetle drill was used to drill the blastholes. Prior to drilling, a level surface for operating the drill was prepared by removing overburden down to the cap rock and filling voids in the rock with 2RC stone. The highwall face, where the shot pattern was laid out, was approximately 44 feet high.
Backbreak from the shot had brought down a section of the cap rock above the northeast side of Portal #1 (identified in Appendix B, as area "A"). The section of cap rock (identified in Appendix B as area "B"), that Kimmel is believed to have been standing on when it collapsed, was above the southwest side of Portal #1, adjacent to the pillar separating Portals #1 and #2. Kimmel fell about 15 feet with the section of cap rock and was crushed and partially buried by the falling material.
Kimmel and Mark Proctor, senior blaster/sales representative, had examined the blast site from the bottom of the highwall the day before the accident. They discussed the possibility that the shot might bring down the section of the roof above the entry (Portal #1). Kimmel had also mentioned this possibility to the mine operator. The area of cap rock above Portal #1, however, had not been posted or barricaded to warn of the potentially hazardous conditions.
Description of Accident
On the day of the accident, the blast crew consisting of Ronald Kimmel, Jr., (victim) and Todd Zimmerman, junior blaster/truck driver, arrived at the mine at approximately 7:15 a.m. David Craft and Bryan Kachurka, truck drivers/laborers, had arrived shortly before. They immediately began checking and measuring blasthole depth, pumping water from wet holes, loading and stemming holes, and gathering empty bags. They completed preparation and the shot was connected and fired at 11:04 a.m.
After the shot, Kimmel and Zimmerman made a post-blast examination from atop the highwall. According to Zimmerman, it looked like proper detonation and no cracks or "backbreak" were observed. Additionally, Kimmel had commented to him that the section of roof (above Portal #1) that he and Proctor had been concerned about had come down.
Following the post-blast examination of the top level, Zimmerman went to burn empty bags, while Kimmel began retrieving lead-in lines near the edge of the highwall. Christopher Colton, acting quarry manager, and John McGuire, stone plant lead man, had arrived on the bench below to check the size and placement of the shot material. Both men commented that they did not see anyone standing near the edge of the highwall when they looked at it.
At approximately 11:10 a.m., Colton, McGuire, and Zimmerman stated they heard rocks falling. Colton and McGuire said when they looked toward the highwall, they saw that a section of it had collapsed. None of the three men saw Kimmel. Zimmerman climbed down onto the shot rock, saw Kimmel's arm, and began to dig him out.
Kimmel was covered by mud and 2RC stone which had engulfed him as the ground he was standing on collapsed. Bryan Kachurka, truck driver/laborer, aided in recovering Kimmel, and both men administered CPR. While recovery was in progress, a call was placed to 911, and a local rescue squad arrived at 11:28 a.m. Kimmel was pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner. Kimmel died as a result of blunt force trauma caused by the fall and/or material falling onto him.
The primary cause of the accident was the failure to correct hazardous ground conditions prior to allowing work in the area. A contributing factor was the failure to conduct a complete post-blast examination. An examination for hazardous ground conditions was not conducted from the bench level below, and the 2RC stone placed to level the surface prior to drilling may have obstructed the ability to detect cracks from the upper bench level.
It is recommended, before mining is done above or near underground workings, that the location of drifts and crosscuts be identified. Additionally, areas either above or in front of such workings, which could pose a hazard to miners, should be posted or barricaded.
Violations Issued to Global Stone PenRoc Inc.
Order No. 4296113
Issued on December 17, 1996, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act.
Violations Issued to Hall Explosives Inc.
Citation No. 7700422
Issued on January 7, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.3200:
Citation No. 7700423
Issued on January 7, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.3401:
//s//Dennis A. Yesko
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector
//s//Edward F. Skvarch
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Approved by: James R. Petrie, District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: