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Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health

Report of Investigation

Underground Metal Mine

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident

August 3, 2000

Ken Snyder Mine
Dynatec Mining Corporation
Midas, Elko County, Nevada
ID No. 26-02314

Accident Investigators

Richard R. Laufenberg
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Jack W. Eberling
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Rodney Gust
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Terry Marshall, Jr.
Mechanical Engineer

Emmett M. Sullivan
Mine Safety and Health Specialist

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Rocky Mountain District
P.O. Box 25367, DFC
Denver, CO 80225-0367
Irvin T. Hooker, District Manager


William C. Sherman, miner, age 33, was seriously injured on August 3, 2000, when a load-haul-dump (LHD) bucket was lowered on him. On August 14, 2000, Sherman died of the injuries he sustained. Sherman was underground, lying down resting on a muckpile with his miner's light turned off when the accident occurred. The LHD operator was unaware of Sherman's presence as he parked the LHD.

The accident occurred because the operator of the LHD was unaware the victim was resting on the muckpile along the development drift. The mine operator's failure to establish and implement a personal visibility policy at this mine was a contributing factor. The victim's individual electric lamp being turned off and the lack of reflective material on his person were contributing factors. Another contributing factor was the operator's restricted visibility while tramming the LHD.

Sherman had a total of 13 years mining experience as an underground miner. He had worked at this operation for nine months. He had received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 48.


Ken Snyder Mine, a multi-level underground gold mine, owned by Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation, operated by Dynatec Mining Corporation, was located near Midas, Elko County, Nevada. The principal operating official was Michael Lalonde, general mine manager. The mine was normally operated two, 10-hour shifts a day, seven days a week. A total of 210 persons was employed; of this number, 96 worked underground.

Gold-bearing ore was drilled, blasted, and loaded onto trucks with LHD's. Broken material was transported to the surface where it was dumped near the mine opening. The material was then loaded onto surface haulage trucks and transported to the mill for crushing, grinding and processing.

The last regular inspection at this operation was completed on May 23, 2000. Another inspection was conducted following this investigation.


On the day of the accident, William Sherman (victim) reported for work at 7:00 a.m., his normal starting time. Sherman, Thomas E. Hamilton and Benjamin Goin, Jr., miners, were assigned to work in the No. 3 haulage development area. They were to operate a jumbo drill, LHD and truck to drill and haul material from the area. Hamilton was the senior man on the development crew. He told Goin to return some explosives from a nearby day box to the main explosive magazine. Hamilton instructed Sherman to clean up the area because a mine tour was planned for their work area sometime that day. Hamilton resumed drilling while his partners went about their tasks. Sherman evidently took a break, turned off his miner's light, and laid down on a small pile of ore near a pillar along the haulage drift, about 45 feet behind the drill.

Goin returned about 20 minutes later on the LHD. Goin began to park the LHD at the pillar where Sherman was lying. As Goin lowered the bucket, he heard Sherman scream. Goin raised and rolled the bucket back, articulated the bucket to one side, and rushed to Sherman's aid. Hamilton observed the accident from the drill and flashed his light vigorously at Goin. Hamilton shut down the drill and ran up the haulage drift past the accident scene to a mine phone to notify the 1st responders. Sherman had stopped breathing and Goin began resuscitation breathing. Sherman was revived approximately four minutes later. He was evacuated from the mine and was airlifted to a hospital in Elko, Nevada. He was then moved to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sherman had sustained internal injuries, multiple fractures, and deep lacerations. He died on August 14, 2000, from complications of crushing injuries.


MSHA was notified at 8:45 a.m., on the day of the accident by a telephone call from Steven R. Murray, safety director for the mining company, to Tyrone Goodspeed, supervisory mine safety and health inspector. An accident investigation was started the same day. An MSHA inspector traveled to the mine and made a physical inspection of the accident site, examined the equipment involved, interviewed a number of persons, and reviewed documents relative to the job being performed by the victim. On August 14, 2000, the victim died in the hospital from his injuries. After being notified of the victim's death, MSHA's accident investigation team was dispatched to the mine. The team examined evidence collected, inspected the accident site and conducted more interviews with witnesses. The miners did not request, nor have, representation during the investigation.

� The load-haul-dump (LHD) was a Wagner model ST6CN, serial number DA14P0610, scoop tram equipped with a six cubic yard bucket.
� The LHD had a 9.9 ton capacity, an empty weight of approximately 53,500 pounds, and was powered by an 8.5 liter Detroit diesel series 50 engine, rated at 250 hp at 2,100 rpm. Power was transferred to the front and rear wheels through a 4-speed power shift transmission.
� Service, parking and emergency braking functions were accomplished through the spring-applied hydraulically released multiple wet discs located in the axles of the wheels.
� Articulated hydraulic power steering was controlled by a pilot operated, monostick control.
� The LHD had a side-seated operator station to provide bidirectional view. The operator sat perpendicular to the direction of travel. It was equipped with a ROPS/FOPS certified canopy. The height of the top of the ROPS/FOPS was about 80 inches above the ground.
� Tire width of the LHD was approximately seven feet wide, and the total length of the LHD was approximately 34 feet.
� The bucket that was on the LHD at the time of the accident was an Eject-O-Dump (EOD) style. The bucket was approximately eight feet wide. The highest part of the bucket was approximately 75 inches above the ground with the lift arms all the way down and the bucket at a full curl. This bucket orientation was described by some LHD operators to be a normal "carry" position while tramming. With the cutting edge section of the EOD bucket flat on the ground, the highest part of the bucket was approximately 62 inches above the ground. The eye level of an operator approximately six feet tall, sitting at the controls, was about 74 inches.
� The EOD bucket had been removed after the accident and replaced with a standard bucket. The standard bucket was measured to be approximately 88 inches wide and 57 inches above the ground at the highest section with the cutting edge of the bucket flat on the ground. The highest part of the standard bucket in the "carry" position was measured to be about 67 inches above the ground.
� The accident occurred in the No. 3 haulage drift (running approximately north to south) at an intersection to two side drifts, one on each side of the No. 3 haulage drift. Both of the side drifts were being used to store ore. The No. 3 haulage drift had a 12.5% decline that led to a 5.6% decline in the area of the two side drift intersections. The LHD had been trammed down this declined slope, bucket first, to the intersection where the accident occurred.
� The victim was positioned near the south corner of the No. 2, 5450-5150 backfill access drift (east drift). A member of the crew was drilling with a jumbo drill at the end of the No. 3 haulage drift, south of the intersection of where the accident occurred. A haul truck was parked in the entrance to the west drift.
� The speed selector control lever assembly for the four-speed transmission had been modified. The third and fourth positions had been physically blocked so that the LHD could only be operated in first or second gear. The LHD operator reported that he had trammed into the accident area using first gear. Maintenance records did not indicate that any transmission related work had been done on the LHD since the accident. No problems were detected with the transmission while conducting field tests. Transmission functions were observed to be responsive to the control lever movement including both the speed control and the directional control.
� Inspection of records indicated that the LHD operator required corrective lenses for 20/20 eyesight, but the victim did not. The LHD operator stated that he was wearing prescription safety glasses at the time of the accident.
� The LHD operator stated that he did not see the victim while tramming into the work area. Two work lights mounted on the front section of the LHD and the LHD operator's cap lamp were reportedly the only lighting in the work area where the accident occurred. The lights were operational when tested the day of the accident. The jumbo drill operator reported that the LHD operator's cap lamp and both LHD lights were on when he observed the LHD tramming down the No. 3 haulage drift immediately prior to the accident. The two work lights on the front of the LHD provided illumination for the LHD operator's line of sight areas near the bucket.
� The LHD operator reported that the victim's cap lamp was not on when he first arrived to render aid to the victim. The victim's cap lamp was operational when tested the day of the accident even though the battery case had sustained damage.
� The victim was wearing black jogging pants and a white T-shirt that was stained making it darker in appearance. No reflective material was present on any of the victim's clothing or equipment including the mine belt, the cap lamp assembly and the hardhat. The mine did not have a company policy requiring employees to wear reflective material while working underground. The mine did provide each new hire with a set of coveralls having reflective material.
� A blind area sketch (See Appendix C) was done on level ground indicating the areas around the machine in which an operator, approximately six feet tall, could see the head of a pedestrian that was also approximately six feet tall. The blind area to the front of the machine was determined with the standard bucket installed since the EOD bucket had been removed from the machine and taken off of the property to be rebuilt at a local facility. Measures were taken to replicate the height and width of the EOD bucket in the "carry" position. The standard bucket was observed to have a smaller blind area in the front section of the machine due to it being narrower and shorter than the EOD bucket.
� Tests were conducted to determine if the LHD operator could have seen the victim while entering the accident area with the bucket in the "carry" position and the available lighting. These tests were conducted with the victim's cap lamp off and with two different types of coveralls, i.e., with and without reflective material. The results of the test showed the LHD had a severe blind area in the LHD's forward direction of travel into the work area. The blind area was less with the standard bucket than with the EOD bucket that was installed when the accident occurred; however, a forward blind area still existed.
� Company policy requires "double hearing protection", i.e., ear muffs over top of ear plugs while performing certain tasks or while in certain work areas. LHD operators were required to wear the "double hearing protection" under this policy. The LHD operator stated that he was wearing only ear plugs, and did not have "double hearing protection".
� The victim reportedly wore ear plugs on a regular basis while working, but it could be not verified if he was wearing them at the time of the accident.


The root cause of the accident was the LHD operator's inability to see the victim where he was resting on the muckpile. The mine operator's failure to establish and implement a personal visibility policy at this mine was a contributing factor. The victim's individual electric lamp being turned off and the lack of reflective material on his person were also contributing factors.


Citation No. 7923674 was issued on October 31, 2000, under provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 57.17010:
A serious accident resulting in a fatality occurred at this operation on August 3, 2000, when a miner was struck by the bucket of a load-haul-dump (LHD). The miner died on August 14, 2000.
The operator of the LHD was in the process of parking the LHD when he lowered the bucket onto the miner. The miner was lying down resting on a muckpile along the No. 3 development drift. His individual electric lamp was turned off when the accident occurred. The LHD operator was unaware of the miner's presence.
This citation was terminated on October 31, 2000. The mine operator established and implemented a personal visibility policy. In part, the policy states that cap lights must be kept on at all times when a person is underground.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB2000M34


A. Persons Participating in the Investigation

B. Persons Interviewed


Persons Participating in the Investigation:

Dynatec Mining Corporation
Michael Lalonde . . . . . . . . . . . . . general mine manager
Steven R. Murray . . . . . . . . . . . . director of safety
State of Nevada, Department of Business & Industry
James Frey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .mine inspector
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Richard R. Laufenberg . . . . . . . . supervisory mine safety and health inspector
Jack W. Eberling . . . . . . . . . . . . mine safety and health inspector
Rodney Gust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mine safety and health inspector
>Terry Marshall, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . M.E., mechanical engineer
>Emmett M. Sullivan . . . . . . . . . . C.S.P., training specialist


Persons Interviewed:

Dynatec Mining Corporation
Michael Lalonde . . . . . . . . . . . general mine manager
Steve Murray . . . . . . . . . . . . . director of safety
>Fred Chapman . . . . . . . . . . . . development shift foreman
>Israel Fimbres . . . . . . . . . . . . . production shift foreman
>Thomas E. Hamilton . . . . . . . . .miner
Ryan Caudill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lead miner
Brandon Peavy . . . . . . . . . . . . miner
>Benjamin Goin, Jr. . . . . . . . . . .miner
>Nathan Spry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . miner
>Jeromy McKinnen . . . . . . . . . .mechanic
Ron Cole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .blaster
Gayle Doornek . . . . . . . . . . . . surveyor (EMT)
Todd Edwards . . . . . . . . . . . . surveyor (EMT)
> Shawn Cosper . . . . . . . . . . . . .mechanic (1st responder)
John Francis . . . . . .  . . . . . . .  miner (1st responder)
Rob Dennison . . . . . .  . . . . . . refiner (paramedic)