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Rocky Mountain District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Accident Investigation Report
Surface Metal Mine

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

Cyprus Sierrita Corporation (mine)
I.D. No. 02-00144
Cyprus Sierrita Corporation
Green Valley, Pima County, Arizona

March 19, 1996


Wayne Wasson
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Joseph Quartaro
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Rocky Mountain District
Mine Safety & Health Administration
P.O. Box 25367 DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367

Robert M. Friend
District Manager


Alfred M. Wade, electrician, age 44, was fatally injured on March 19, 1996, at 5:36 a.m., when a haulage truck in the pit ran over the light truck he was driving. Wade had a total of 13 years, 6 months mining experience, with 7 years, 39 weeks at this mine and 3 years, 39 weeks as an electrician.

MSHA was notified by a phone call from Linda Moler, safety technician, at 8:10 a.m. on the day of the accident. An investigation was started the same day.

The Cyprus Sierrita Corporation mine, owned and operated by Cyprus Sierrita Corporation, was located 30 miles southwest of Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. Copper and molybdenum ore was drilled, blasted, loaded on trucks by electric-powered shovels, and transported to various on site locations for crushing, prior to processing. The mine normally operated two, 12-hour shifts a day, 7 days a week. A total of 749 persons was employed.

Principal operating officials were:
J.G. Clevenger, President
Robert Wishart, Mine Manager
Elton C. Hogg, Safety Manager

Wade had received annual refresher training according to 30 CFR Part 48 on April 4, 1995. The last regular inspection was completed at this operation on February 23, 1996.


The accident occurred on the 3850 level of the Sierrita Pit near No. 43 shovel. The area was approximately 312 feet by 250 feet, relatively flat, and there was ample space to turn vehicles to the left or right.

The haulage truck involved in the accident was a 240-ton, Model 793B Caterpillar, Serial No. 1H100144. It weighed 161.8 tons empty. Due to the size and configuration of the truck, blind areas extended several feet on the right side of the truck, limiting the operator's vision (Appendix 3).

The victim's truck was a Model F250 Ford, Serial No. 1FTEF25H7-NLA93295. A flatbed had been installed and the truck was used primarily for maintenance purposes.

Procedures governing right-of-way in congested areas and moving haulage trucks to the blind side had been established at this operation in June 1995. They required employees to call the equipment operators in the area if visual/signal contact is not acknowledged before entering and to call by radio for clearance from other equipment when turning a parked haulage truck to the blind side. The procedures were not followed during the accident. The radio in the electrician's truck was on a different channel than the one used by the haulage operators in the area.


Alfred Wade (victim) reported for work on the second shift at 7:00 p.m., his usual starting time. He performed various tasks until approximately 5:00 a.m. the next morning, when John Urquhart, maintenance technician, radioed him to help change bucket teeth on No. 44 shovel. They completed the job and the used teeth were loaded onto the bed of Wade's truck for transport to the metal scrap dump. After loading the bucket teeth, Wade drove up the ramp toward No. 43 shovel on his way to the scrap dump. Urquhart followed him in a separate vehicle, about one minute behind.

Reyes Madero, haulage truck driver, had been dispatched to No. 44 shovel on the 3800 level. However, it was not operating at the time, so he was reassigned to No. 43 shovel on the 3850 level. He parked near other trucks that were in line at the No. 43 shovel and waited to be loaded.

Wade approached the No. 43 shovel area at the time Madero received instructions by the dispatcher to return to No. 44 shovel. Wade crossed the loadout area and was about to pass Madero's truck when Madero pulled out and turned right.

Urquhart, who was following Wade, topped the 3850 ramp and saw Madero's truck run over Wade's truck. Terry Tommazoli, waiting in line, also saw the accident and called the dispatcher. Madero was unaware that he had run over Wade's truck. After traveling approximately 300 feet beyond the point of impact, he heard the call and stopped. Local emergency response personnel were summoned, arrived a short time later, and removed Wade from mine property.


Established traffic control rules were not followed. The haulage truck driver was not aware of Wade's presence and did not determine if any vehicle was in his blind spot before turning. Wade did not contact any of the haulage equipment operators as he entered the congested area where they were all parked.


Citation No. 4670022
Issued on 4/11/96, under the provisions of Sec. 104(a) for violation of 30 CFR 56.9100(a):

An employee was fatally injured on 3/19/96, when the flatbed truck he was driving in the pit was struck by a 240-ton haul truck. Rules governing direction of movement of mobile equipment had been established to provide traffic safety at the mine in 1995. However, the rules which called for receiving clearance from other equipment operators in the area when turning a haul truck to the blind side and which when entering a congested area required a call to equipment operators if visual/signal contact was not acknowledged, were not followed.

This citation was terminated on 4/15/96 after further procedures were established to improve the existing transportation and communication controls. These controls will be added to the annual refresher training plan. A safety alert detailing these changes was posted at the mine.

/s/ Wayne J. Wasson

Wayne J. Wasson
Supv. Mine Safety and Health Inspector

/s/ Joseph Quartaro

Joseph Quartaro
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Approved by:

Robert M. Friend
District Manager

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB96M08]