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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On March 14, 1998, a 24 year old maintenance welder with 2 years of mining experience was fatally injured at a sand and gravel processing plant. The victim was changing a bearing on the head pulley of the primary plant sand stacker conveyor. The sand surge pile was directly under the conveyor belt head pulley and walkway/work area. Sand was being drawn from the stockpile by an underground draw-chute onto a tunnel conveyor belt, which transported sand to the secondary plant. Apparently he climbed from the conveyor walkway/work area to the top of the sand stockpile and was drawn by the collapsing pile to the feed chute below. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Best Practices

Work should be performed on secure work platforms with handrails.

A safety belt and lanyard must be used when workers access the top of surge piles.

Draw-off conveyors should be deengerized, locked-out, and tagged prior to accessing the top of surge piles.

This is the 13th fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 1997, there were 16 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the fourth fatality classified as Powered Haulage in 1998. There were nine Powered Haulage fatalities in the same period in 1997.

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