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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On October 24, 2002, a 27-year-old fuel handler with 2 years 7 months mining experience was fatally injured at a cement operation. The victim was attempting to bleed air from the liquid waste-fuel system when the in-line grinder ruptured. The escaping waste fuel ignited, engulfing the victim in flames.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Ensure process safety management principles are used to identify possible hazards related to waste fuel handling.
  • Establish safe work procedures and train employees for each task, including a general knowledge of the system and its hazards.
  • Ensure all safety system monitoring and shutdowns are installed correctly, are operational and are tested periodically.
  • Ensure appropriate personal protective equipment, including fire retardant clothing is worn by all persons entering or working in areas where hazardous/flammable material spills or releases are possible.
  • Locate pump start/stop switches remotely and require pumps be shut down prior to bleeding off pressurized waste fuel systems.
  • Ensure in-line pressure relief devices are installed on all pressurized waste fuel systems.
  • Install flow sensing devices which automatically shut down the pump if flow stops for any critical period of time.
  • More Information E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the 34th fatality reported in calendar year 2002 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2001, there were 24 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the first fatality classified as Exploding Vessels Under Pressure in 2002. There were no Exploding Vessels Under Pressure fatalities in the same period in 2001.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

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