DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health
Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine
(Sand and Gravel)
Fatal Handling Material Accident
D&F Afonso Realty Company 19-00358-ZZZ
Rosenfeld Concrete Corp.
Hopedale, Worcester County, Massachusetts
February 6, 1998
Northeastern District Office
230 Executive Drive, Suite 2
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania 16066-6415
James R. Petrie
Bento M. DaSilva, foreman for D&F Afonso Realty Company, age 60, was fatally injured about 11:00 a.m. on February 6, 1998, when he was buried under a stockpile that collapsed while hand shoveling sand into the back of a dump truck. DaSilva was a customer at Rosenfeld Concrete. He had a total of 16 years experience working for D&F Afonso Realty Company as a foreman, and a total of 40 years experience as a construction laborer. He had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.
MSHA was notified by a telephone call from Donald Giumetti, general manager at Rosenfeld Concrete Corporation's, Hopedale Plant at about 5:50 p.m. on the day of the accident. An accident investigation was started the following morning.
The Hopedale Plant, owned and operated by Rosenfeld Concrete Corporation, was located near Hopedale, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The facility consisted of a ready-mix concrete plant that crushed, screened, and stockpiled sand and gravel for use in making concrete. The principal operating official was Donald Giumetti, general manager. The plant was normally operated one 9-hour shift a day, 5 days a week. A total of 3 persons was employed. A small amount of material was sold to outside customers, one of which was D&F Afonso Realty Company.
The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on August 6, 1996. Three citations were issued during that inspection, one of which involved failure to conduct workplace examinations as required by 30 CFR 56.18002. Another inspection was conducted in conjunction with this investigation.
PHYSICAL FACTORS INVOLVED
The accident occurred at the south side of the washed concrete sand stockpile, which measured approximately 55 feet high and 120 to 150 feet wide at its base. Sand had been excavated from this edge of the stockpile by a front-end loader. The excavated area was about 130 feet wide at the toe, and 10 to 20 feet further into the pile than it would have been had the pile's slope been at its angle of repose of about 34 degrees. The slope in the excavated area measured between 37 and 41 degrees, with some small areas as steep as 55 degrees. On the morning of the accident, the loader operator reportedly had removed several buckets of sand from one location within the excavation, creating a small, deeper pocket. It was in this pocket that the accident occurred.
Typically, sand deep within a stockpile becomes compacted under its own weight and holds more moisture than areas nearer the surface. When excavations are made into these deeper areas, the slopes initially tend to stand at steeper angles. As these steeper slopes dry from exposure to sun and wind, they may become unstable and begin to slough, or collapse, until they reach the angle of repose.
The vehicle involved in the accident was a 1996 Dodge 3500, 6-wheel dump truck with a 2.4 cubic yard capacity bed. There were no signs posted on the mine property or information provided to customers warning about the hazards associated with working around stockpiles or directing persons waiting to be loaded to stay in their vehicles.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On the day of the accident, Bento DaSilva (victim) and two other men arrived at the Hopedale Plant about 7:45 a.m., to purchase a load of sand to use for ice-control at D&F Afonso's garage located across the street from the plant. Their truck was loaded with 1.6 tons of sand by James Paul, front-end loader operator. DaSilva returned at about 10:45 a.m. for a second load of sand and drove to the stockpile. The front-end loader was not there, so DaSilva drove to the bin area where he was told that Paul would be with him as soon as he finished loading two concrete trucks. DaSilva then drove back to the stockpile. Paul finished loading the two trucks and proceeded toward the stockpile.
As Paul approached, he noticed that DaSilva had backed his truck against the stockpile and was hand shoveling sand into the bed. Paul signaled to DaSilva to move his truck away from the pile so he could be loaded. DaSilva indicated to Paul that he would finish loading his truck by hand. DaSilva was standing between the stockpile and the truck, when Paul noticed the bottom of the stockpile begin to shift. DaSilva's truck was pushed forward about 4 to 6 inches and DaSilva's legs were pinned against the back of the closed tailgate. The stockpile then collapsed, totally engulfing DaSilva and partially covering the truck.
Paul radioed the dispatcher that there was an accident at the sand stockpile and to send help. The dispatcher notified Donald Giumetti of the accident, and then called the local rescue squad. Giumetti went to the stockpile and attempted to drive DaSilva's truck forward. The truck would not move, so Wilfred Richard, plant maintenance man, wrapped a chain around the truck's front axle and it was pulled out by the front-end loader. They began to dig DaSilva out by hand and reached him after 2 to 3 minutes. At this time, the local rescue squad arrived. DaSilva was not breathing when they dug him out and attempts to resuscitate him were not successful. He was transported by ambulance to a nearby airport where a Life Flight helicopter was waiting. DaSilva was examined by the flight physician and pronounced dead at 11:51 a.m.
The primary cause of the accident was failure to trim the stockpile. Possible contributing factors were the lack of signs warning of the potential hazards associated with working around stockpiles and to direct persons waiting to be loaded to stay in their vehicles.
Order No. 7710838 was issued on February 6, 1998, at 6:00 p.m., under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act to prohibit personnel from entering the accident site pending an investigation by MSHA to determine if hazards exist that could endanger other personnel.
This order was terminated on February 13, 1998, after the height of the stockpile was lowered to a safe height and it was determined that the plant could return to normal operation.
Citation No. 7708770 was issued on February 10, 1998, under the provision of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.9314:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on February 6, 1998, when a person was engulfed by material at the washed concrete sand stockpile where he was hand shoveling material into a small truck. This stockpile was over 50 feet high and the face was nearly vertical in some areas. Company officials knew the height of the stockpile, that it was not trimmed, and failed to take corrective action. This is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard.
This citation was terminated on March 3, 1998, after the stockpile height was reduced to 35 feet, and the operator was told that subsequent stockpiles were not to exceed that height and that they must be kept trimmed to minimize potential sloughing hazards.
Order No. 7708771 was issued on February 11, 1998, under the provision of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for a violation of 30 CFR 56.20011:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on February 6, 1998, when a person was engulfed by material at the washed concrete sand stockpile where he was hand shoveling material into a small truck. No signs were posted to warn of the potential hazards associated with working around stockpiles or to direct persons waiting to be loaded to stay in their vehicles. Company officials were aware of the height of the stockpile and the nearly vertical untrimmed faces. This is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard.
This order was terminated on March 3, 1998, after signs were posted to warn persons to stay clear of the stockpile and to remain in their vehicle. The operator also implemented a policy ordering persons off the property for failure to comply with the posted signs.
Order No. 7708772 was issued on February 11, 1998, under the provision of Section 104(d)(1) of the Mine Act for a violation of 30 CFR 56.18002(a):
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on February 6, 1998, when a person was engulfed by material at the washed concrete sand stockpile where he was hand shoveling material into a small truck. A competent person designated by the operator had not examined the working places at least once each shift for conditions that could adversely affect safety or health, as evidenced by the failure to trim the stockpile and that the stockpile was too high to control with the equipment in use at the time of the accident. Company officials were aware that the daily examinations of the work area were not being conducted. This is an unwarrantable failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard.
This order was terminated on March 3,1998, after the mine operator began examining working places each shift for conditions which may adversely affect safety or health, and keeping a record of such examinations.
Citation No. 7708773 was issued on February 11, 1998, under the provision of Section 103(j) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 50.10:
A fatal accident occurred at this operation on February 6, 1998, when a person was engulfed by material at the washed concrete sand stockpile where he was hand shoveling material into a small truck. The operator is required to immediately notify MSHA of any fatality or serious injury that is life threatening. The accident occurred at about 11:00 a.m. MSHA was not notified until 5:50 p.m. that afternoon.
This citation was terminated on March 3, 1998, after the mine operator was reminded of the reporting requirements of 30 CFR Part 50.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin: