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Surface Nonmetal Mine
(Crushed Limestone)

Fatal Powered Haulage Accident
Date of Injury: November 6, 2000
Date of Death: January 28, 2001

183 Trucking and Grading (A749)
West Union, Oconee, South Carolina


Oconee Rock Quarry
Oconee County
Walhalla, Oconee, South Carolina
Mine I.D. 38-00230

Accident Investigator

James M. McCarthy
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Southeast District
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212; Birmingham, AL 35209
Martin Rosta, District Manager


Robert Earl Smith, customer truck owner/operator, age 56, was seriously injured on November 6, 2000, at 4:10 p.m. when he was struck by another customer's truck after he had gotten out of his vehicle to assess his load of material. Another customer truck driver was positioning his vehicle to be loaded when he backed over Smith. Smith died as a result of these injuries on January 28, 2001.

The accident was caused by the failure to follow company policy which required customers to stay in the truck at all times while on mine property.

Smith had a total of 35 years hauling experience. He hauled rock from this quarry for about 1-1/2 years. He had received site specific hazard awareness training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 46.


Oconee County Quarry, a crushed limestone operation, owned and operated by Oconee County, was located near Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina. The principal operating official was Tommy S. Crumpton, roads director. The mine was normally operated one, 9-hour shift a day, five days a week. Total employment was 15 persons.

The victim owned and operated 183 Trucking and Grading located in West Union, Oconee County, South Carolina. The company operated two over-the-road haulage trucks and hauled material from various mines to customers located in the immediate area for use on driveways and fill material. The contractor worked an average of 9 hours a day, five days a week. Total employment was 2 persons.

Oconee County Quarry consisted of a multiple-bench quarry accessed by decline roadways. After removal of overburden, benches were drilled and blasted by contract services. Material was loaded by front-end loader into haul trucks then transported to the primary jaw crusher where it was sized, crushed, screened and stockpiled. The finished product was primarily used by the county for construction and maintenance of county roads.

The last regular inspection at this operation was completed February 7, 2001.


On the day of the accident, Robert Earl Smith (victim) arrived at the Oconee County Quarry at 3:15 p.m. to get a load of rock. Smith went to the stockpile and Rory Jones, front-end loader operator proceeded to load Smith's truck. When Jones had finished, Smith noticed that the load did not appear to be level in the truck bed and got out of the truck and asked Jones to try to level the load. Jones used the loader to redistribute the load and Smith went to the driver's side of the truck to ensure that the sideboards were clean so material would not fall off during transit.

Franklin Monroe Reynolds, customer truck driver, arrived at the stockpile to have his truck loaded. He observed Smith in his rearview mirrors as he was backing up but lost site of him and thought Smith had gotten back into the cab of his truck. Reynolds continued backing up until he felt the truck's left rear wheels hit something. At the same time he heard someone yell. Reynolds stopped the truck and found Smith between the opening of the set of the tandem wheels. Reynolds immediately summoned Jones to get help.

A call was made to 911 and local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived in about 12 minutes. Smith remained conscious and had removed himself from between the tires before the EMS arrived. Smith was transported to a local hospital and later taken to a regional medical center in Greenville, South Carolina where he died on January 28, 2001.


MSHA was notified of the accident at 4:30 p.m., on November 6, 2000, by a telephone call from Pam McCall, office manager of Oconee County, to Merle E. Slaton, supervisory metal and nonmetal mine inspector. At the time of the accident, Smith's injuries were not reported to be life-threatening. On November 11, 2000, an investigation was started. MSHA's inspector traveled to the mine, made a physical inspection of the accident scene, interviewed employees, and reviewed conditions and work procedures at the time of the accident. MSHA conducted the investigation with the assistance of mine management and mine employees. The miners did not request nor have representation during the investigation.


   The stockpile where the accident occurred was in the truck loading area. Customers entered the mine site and were directed by signs to a one-way traffic flow to the stockpile loading area.

   Usual procedure was for the front-end loader to load material from the driver's side of the customer's truck. Due to the configuration of the stockpile at the time of the accident, Smith's truck was loaded on the passenger's side.

� It was written company policy for drivers to remain inside their trucks at all time while on mine property. Signs were posted at the entrance to the mine and customers were provided with written notice upon entering the mine site.

   Smith's truck was a 1985 Ford, 9000, rear-dump, tri-axle. The truck was powered by a Caterpillar 6-cylinder diesel engine. Hauling capacity was 20 tons. The truck was DOT-licensed. Brakes, steering and other safety equipment were reported to be in good mechanical condition on the day of the accident.

   The truck that struck Smith was a 1980 Ford, rear-dump, series L-8000, vehicle I.D. V80UVHA7643. The truck was tandem axle with a hauling capacity of 14 tons. It was powered by a 6-cylinder diesel engine. The truck was DOT-licensed. Brakes and steering were reported to be in good mechanical condition on the day of the accident. Mirrors were the large West Coast-type with one on each side of the truck. The truck was not equipped with an automatic reverse signal alarm. There were no other safety defects noted.


The cause of the accident was failure of the company to ensure that policy was followed and customers remained in the cabs of the trucks at all times while being loaded.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
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Persons Participating in the Investigation

Oconee County Quarry
Tommy S. Crumpton......... roads director
Ray Brooks..........rock crusher technician
Pam manager
183 Trucking and Grading
Sharon S. Smith..........wife
Jimmy Sanders..........driver
Mine Safety and Health Administration
James M. McCarthy..........mine safety and health inspector

Persons Interviewed

Oconee County Quarry
Tommy S. Crumpton.........roads director
Ray Brooks..........rock crusher technician
Pam manager
183 Trucking and Grading
Sharon S. Smith..........wife
Jimmy Sanders..........driver