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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On January 19, 1998, a 40 year old welder/ laborer working for a contractor at the mill of a limestone quarry was killed when he fell approximately 50 feet from the top of a hopper to the ground. The victim had 8 years experience as a millwright and had previously worked as a contractor employee at this mine for about 1 month. He was one of four contractor employees, along with their supervisor, who were repairing screens, chutes, and hoppers during plant renovation. Several days prior to the accident, handrails for the hopper were removed, exposing a 3- by 9-foot opening in the floor. The victim stepped across the opening and sat on the edge of the hopper. He fell backward through the opening to the ground. He was not wearing a safety belt and line.

Best Practices

All persons exposed to fall hazards should wear safety belts and lines.

Openings in the floor that create a hazard should be covered or protected with handrails or barriers.

New employees should be indoctrinated in safety rules and safe work procedures.

Mine operators should take an active role to assure that contractors follow basic safe work procedures.

This is the first fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 1997, there were four fatalities reported in these industries. This is the first fatality classified as Fall of Person in 1998. There was one Fall of Person fatality during the same period in 1997.

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report