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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On February 27, 1999, a 45-year-old co-owner of a contract drilling company with 6 years drilling experience was fatally injured at a crushed stone operation. The victim had been contracted to drill quarry blast holes. She was standing about 20 feet from the base of a 240-foot highwall measuring a hole when a rock fell and struck her.

Best Practices

  • Persons experienced in identifying loose ground should examine highwalls in the vicinity where work is to be performed, prior to the work commencing, after blasting and as conditions warrant throughout the shift.

  • Ground conditions that create a hazard to persons should be taken down or supported before other work or travel is permitted in the affected area.

  • Mining methods should be used that will maintain wall, bank and slope stability in places where persons work or travel. The width and height of benches should be based on the type of equipment used for cleaning of benches or for scaling walls banks or slopes.

  • This is the ninth fatality reported in calendar year 1999 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 1998, there were nine fatalities reported in these industries. This is the first fatality classified as Fall of Highwall in 1999. There were no Fall of Highwall fatalities in the same period in 1998.

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