DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine
Fatal Powered Haulage Accident
Amos Horton Grading, Incorporated
Kennecott Ridgeway Mining Company
Ridgeway, Fairfield County, South Carolina
Mine I.D. No. 38-00626-V8N
February 20, 1997
Harry L. Verdier
Supervisory Mine Inspector
Bobby A. Underwood
Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Joseph Sumpter, contractor haulage truck driver, age 53, was fatally injured at approximately 7:30 a.m. on February 20, 1997, when he was run over by a haulage truck after he fell from the engine deck while jump-starting the truck. The victim had a total of 3 months mining experience, all with this company. He had received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
Steve B. Jarvis, Health and Safety Environmental Quality Manager for Kennecott Ridgeway Mining Company, notified the MSHA Columbia, South Carolina field office of the accident at 8:15 a.m., on February 20, 1997. An investigation was started the same day.
The Ridgeway Mine, a multi-bench, open pit gold mine, owned and operated by Kennecott Ridgeway Mining Company, was located 5 miles east of Ridgeway, adjacent to highway 34, Fairfield County, South Carolina. The principal operating official was David J. Salisbury, general manager. The mine normally operated two, 12 hour shifts a day, 7 days a week and employed 161 persons.
Gold was mined by removing overburden, drilling, blasting, loading, and transporting the underlying matrix to the crusher. After crushing, the mined material was further processed using water and chemicals to produce a 40% solid slurry. Gold was leached from the slurry in three tanks, after which further extraction was accomplished by adding carbon to the slurry.
The victim was employed by Amos Horton Grading, Incorporated, an independent contractor from Jefferson, Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The principal operating official was Amos L. Horton, president. The contractor employed 14 persons at the Ridgeway Mine to blend and haul material from the stockpile to the primary crusher.
The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on February 13, 1997.
The truck involved in the accident was a 1980 Caterpillar 769C haulage truck, serial number 1x663, equipped with a 35 ton capacity bed and powered by a Caterpillar 450 horsepower, 8 cylinder engine, and a six speed transmission with retarder. The factory-installed braking system was air over hydraulic, disk/plate type brakes. The parking brake was integrated into the rear wheel disk/plate brakes. The parking brake was controlled by a small lever, mounted next to the gear selector. When the brakes were tested during the investigation, the service brakes were adequate. The parking brake was inoperable.
A wheel chock used under the left front wheel, measured 10 inches in length; 7 inches wide, 6-1/2 inches high and 13 inches in the curved section where a tire would contact the chock.
The parking area was hard and dry with a gradient slope of 2.89%.
For several days prior to the accident, the truck had to be jump-started because of a bad battery and a defective starter switch. A wire had been used from outside the truck to make contact with the starter solenoid, by-passing the defective starter switch in the cab of the truck.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Joseph Sumpter(victim) reported for work at the equipment storage area at 7:00 a.m., his usual starting time. His task for the day was to operate a Caterpillar 769C haulage truck to haul material from the stockpile to the primary crusher.
Because Sumpter's truck would not start, he and Robert Stover, haulage truck driver, were going to jump-start it using Stover's truck which was also a Caterpillar 769C. Sumpter climbed onto the engine deck of his truck, while Stover went to get jumper cables. After handing Sumpter the cables, Stover went to get his truck and returned to where Sumpter's truck was parked.
Marks on the sides of both trucks indicated that when Stover positioned his truck against Sumpter's, the front right corners of both trucks made contact, pushing Sumpter's truck back and holding it about 2 feet from the chock.
Sumpter walked across the engine decks of both trucks and connected the jumper cables to the batteries. Stover then walked behind the left front wheel of Sumpter's truck and touched the wire to the starter solenoid and the truck started.
Stover returned the jumper cables to the tool truck. Sumpter remained on the engine deck of his vehicle. Stover returned, got into his truck and began pulling to the left and away from Sumpter's truck. When the trucks separated, Sumpter's truck began rolling, crossed over the chock and traveled down the slight grade. The truck traveled approximately 57 feet when Sumpter apparently lost his balance, fell, and was run over by the right front wheel. The truck continued down the slope for another 7 feet and stopped when it got to soft wet dirt. The engine was still running.
Stover stated that after parking his truck he looked back and saw that Sumpter's truck had moved and Sumpter's hard hat and safety glasses were on the ground behind the truck. He went to the truck and saw Sumpter lying between the front and rear wheels and immediately ran for help.
The Fairfield County Paramedic Unit and the County Coroner were called. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by the County Coroner. Death was attributed to crushing injuries to the chest.
The causes of the accident were the inoperative parking brake which would not hold the truck on grade and failure to correct defects in a timely manner which required the driver to leave the cab in order to start the engine.
Citation No. 4528782
Issued on February 20, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of Standard 56.14100(b):
Citation No. 4528783
Issued on February 20, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of Standard 56.14101(a)(2):
/s/ Harry L. Verdier
Supervisory Mine Inspector
/s/ Bobby A. Underwood
Mine Safety & Health Inspector
Approved by: Martin Rosta, District Manager
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: