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Southeastern District
Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Accident Investigation Report
Surface Nonmetal Mine

Fatal Slip or Fall of Person Accident

Florida Crushed Stone Company
Tampa Mill
Lafarge Corporation
Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida
Mine I.D. No. 08-00159-ZJG

January 17, 1997


Merle E. Slaton
Supervisory Mine Inspector


James C. Enochs>BR> Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212
Birmingham, Alabama 35209

Martin Rosta
District Manager


Ralph E. Fisher, laborer, age 49, was fatally injured at approximately 12:45 p.m. on January 17, 1997, when he fell 28 feet to the concrete floor from a walkway where he was working. Fisher had a total of four months mining experience, one month at this operation. The victim had not received training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.

Bryan E. Adkins, safety director, Florida Crushed Stone, notified the MSHA Bartow, Florida field office of the accident at 2:10 p.m. on January 17, 1997. An investigation was started the same day.

The Tampa Mill, owned and operated by Lafarge Corporation, was located on Maritime Boulevard, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. The principal operating official was Nicholas E. Ryan, Jr., director of Florida operations. The mill normally operated one, twelve-hour shift per day, five days per week. Twenty-two persons were employed.

The Tampa Mill was a processing facility where lime and other additives were combined with portland cement to make mortar mix. The product was shipped in bulk form, or bagged and shipped to the western Florida area.

Florida Crushed Stone, an independent contractor located in Brooksville, Florida, had recently purchased the old kiln No. 4 and its related parts located at the Tampa Mill. They were to dismantle the kiln and remove it from mine property. The company official on site was Donn Simon, project manager.

The victim was employed by Handi-Man, an industrial temporary help company, who was providing temporary labor for Florida Crushed Stone Company to help disassemble the mill.

The last regular inspection of this operation was conducted on May 21, 1996.


The accident occurred at the old kiln No. 4 on top of the structure that supported the kiln. To access the kiln, employees used a stairway that went up to a walkway and then stepped up to the area where the kiln was housed. This area was 36 feet wide, 48 feet long, and 28 feet high.

The walkway was 36-inches wide and went around all four sides of the structure. Handrails, provided around the entire walkway, were constructed of 1-1/4-inch diameter pipe. The top rail was 42 inches above the walkway and the mid-rail was 18 inches above the walkway.

The kiln and some parts had been removed prior to the accident. When the thrusters were removed, a 35-inch section of the top rail in the handrail had been cut away to allow the crane access to the kiln area. A piece of timber cribbing, used to support the thruster, had been left in the area. The cribbing measured 12 inches by 12 inches by 40 inches long, with one of the edges rounded like a log. The cribbing was left on the kiln side of the walkway, with the rounded edge down, directly across from where the handrail had been cut away.


On the day of the accident, Ralph E. Fisher (victim) reported to work at 7:00 a.m., his regular starting time. Fisher and Dave Smith, both laborers, met with Donn Simon, project manager, to discuss their work assignments. Fisher and Smith went to the top of the old kiln No. 4 to continue with the removal of parts to the kiln that was being disassembled. They were removing base plates that had been bolted into the concrete and were slightly embedded. By using air tools they would drill holes to inset splitters to break away the cement. Work continued all morning without incident.

At 12:30 p.m. Fisher and Smith returned from lunch and went to the top of the old kiln No. 4. Smith was standing at the edge of the kiln area with his back to the walkway, across from where the handrail had been cut away. Fisher asked Smith to check with Simon if they should continue drilling or start splitting the concrete. Smith then saw Fisher step back, onto the piece of cribbing left in the walkway. The cribbing rolled, and Fisher fell through the section of handrail that had been cut away. He fell 28 feet to a concrete floor below.

Emergency units were summoned and when they arrived, Fisher was transported by ambulance to a local Tampa hospital where he was pronounced dead by the attending physician. Death was attributed to injuries received from the fall.


The accident was caused by failure to replace the section of railing which had been removed and failure to remove the timber cribbing from the walkway.


Citation No. 4549172
Issued on January 22, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.11002:

On January 17, 1997, an employee was fatally injured when he fell from a walkway to a concrete floor 28 feet below. The victim stepped on a piece of cribbing and fell through an opening where 35 inches of the top handrail had been removed.

This citation was terminated on January 22, 1997. The 35 inch section of the top handrail has been welded back in place.

Citation No. 4549173
Issued on January 22, 1997, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.20003:

On January 17, 1997, an employee was fatally injured when he fell from a walkway to a concrete floor 28 feet below. A piece of 12 inch by 12 inch cribbing had been left on the walkway. The victim stepped on the cribbing, lost his balance, and fell through an opening in the handrail.

This citation was terminated on January 23, 1997. The 12 inch by 12 inch by 40 inch piece of cribbing was removed from the walkway.

/s/ Merle E. Slaton
Supervisory Mine Inspector

/s/ James C. Enochs
Mine Safety & Health Inspector

Approved By: Martin Rosta, District Manager

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon [FAB97M04]