Skip to content


Surface Nonmetal Mill
Fatal Hoisting Accident

February 13, 2002
Tidewater Skanska (QZP)
Norfolk, Isle of Wight County, Virginia


Holcim (US) Inc. - Holly Hill Facility
Holcim (US) Inc.
Holly Hill, Orangeburg County, South Carolina
Mine I.D. 38-00014

Accident Investigators

Michael C. Henley
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Mitchell Adams
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Thomas D. Barkand
Electrical Engineer

Jerry K. Taylor
Mechanical Engineer

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


Franklin R. Eaddy, carpenter, age 50, was fatally injured on February 13, 2002, when he was pinned by a descending elevator while working on the outside of the pre-heater tower.

The accident was caused because the elevator was not removed from service prior to the victim working on the outside of the tower. Nor was communication provided to the victim to enable him to know that the elevator would be descending.

Eaddy had a total of 11 years experience as a carpenter, four weeks and four days at this mine. He had received training in accordance with 30 CFR Part 46.


Holcim (US) Inc. - Holly Hill Facility, a surface quarry and cement plant owned and operated by Holcim (US) Inc., was located at 200 Safety Street, Highway 453, Holly Hill, Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The principal operating official was Thomas Thornton, plant manager. The mine normally operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Total employment was 240 persons.

Limestone was extracted by bulldozers, hauled by trucks to the crusher, then conveyed to the plant where it was processed into cement. The finished product was stored in silo for bulk shipment to customers.

Tidewater Skanska, an independent contractor, was contracted to construct a new plant that was to replace the existing operation when completed. Tidewater Skanska was located in Norfolk, Isle of Wight County, Virginia. The principal operating official was Albert T. Murden, vice president and project manager. The construction site was normally operated one, 10-hour shift a day, six days a week. The contractor employed 486 persons at this site.

The last regular inspection at this operation was completed May 3, 2001. A regular inspection was conducted following the investigation.


On the day of the accident, Franklin Eaddy (victim) reported to work at 7:00 a.m., his normal starting time. Eaddy was working on the third level of the pre-heater tower. As the building was being constructed, steel was erected at each floor level, from the ground up. As each floor level was installed, measurements for grout forms were taken and numbers were written on the outside beams, along the perimeter of the structure. These numbers referenced the forms that would be made to pour concrete so the floors could be installed. Eaddy had secured a harness with a double lanyard and walked on the outside beam to retrieve the form number. He was bent over, facing the pre-heater tower between the elevator travel way and the building. At the same time, three employees entered the elevator on the fourth floor. The elevator had been under construction and was being operated in a manual mode. Controls for the elevator were located on top of the car, making it difficult for the person operating the elevator to see anyone working below. Shawn Brown, elevator operator, used the push-button, hand-held, umbilical cord to lower the elevator. As the elevator descended, Brown heard a thud and immediately released the down button, to stop the elevator. The car continued to travel about five inches before coming to a complete stop. When the elevator struck Eaddy, it pulled him down, causing him to become pinned between the elevator and a steel channel affixed to the third floor of the pre-heater tower. The channel was cut away to free Eaddy and he was lowered to the ground in the service elevator located at the other side of the structure. George Giraldo, supervisor, administered CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived. Eaddy was pronounced dead at the site by the county coroner. Death was attributed to traumatic asphyxiation.


MSHA was notified of the accident at 11:30 a.m. on February 13, 2002, by a telephone call from John Anderson, field safety manager, Tidewater Skanska., to Harry Verdier, assistant district manager. An investigation was started that day. An order was issued under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Act to ensure the safety of the miners. MSHA's accident investigators traveled to the mine, made a physical inspection of the accident scene, interviewed employees, and reviewed conditions and work procedures relevant to the accident. MSHA conducted the investigation with the assistance of mine management and employees. The miners did not request nor have representation during the investigation.


  • The accident occurred outside Level 3 of the pre-heater tower, approximately 148 feet above the ground. The elevator car that struck the victim was descending from Level 4.

  • The rack-and-pinion elevator involved in the accident was manufactured by Intervect Alimak HEK, model No. 28/37. It had a maximum rated load capacity of 6200 pounds or 31 passengers when the 6200-pound counter weight was attached. At the time of the accident, the counterweight was not attached and the erection load rating was 1200 pounds or 6 passengers. The empty car weighed 4395 pounds. The elevator had been under construction for about five weeks prior to the accident.

  • The final mast section for the elevator was installed on the morning of February 13, 2002. At the time of the accident, the elevator was being operated manually from the car top. Once the elevator installation was completed, its operation was to be fully automatic. The manual control consisted of a hand-held, umbilical cord, operating station, with constant pressure push buttons for "up" and "down" and a locking stop switch.

  • The car was approximately 12.5 feet long, 8.6 feet tall, and 5.2 feet wide. It was an enclosed unit with a vertical sliding door on the outside end, and vertical sliding, bi-parting doors on the building side. The combined weight of the two bi-parting doors on the building side of the elevator car was measured at 145 lbs. The elevator car doors were equipped with mechanical locks and electrical interlocks. The electrical interlock stops the elevator when the bi-parting doors were raised 1.25 inches. The mechanical lock stopped the door travel when the doors were raised 4.5 inches. The car top was provided with a handrail, midrail and toe board around its perimeter.

  • The car was powered by two, 11.5 h.p., 480 Vac electric motors, driving a series of gears onto a pinion gear that meshed with the rack gear. The rack gear was affixed to the car side of the mast and ran the entire length of the mast (approximately 302 feet). The car traveled at approximately 150 feet per minute. The stopping distance of the elevator traveling down at rated speed with four persons on board was estimated to be 5 inches. The car was equipped with a rack and pinion safety with trip speed of 210 feet per minute.

  • The steel channel, where the victim was pinned, was installed as the framing member for the elevator hoistway door sill. When the elevator installation was complete, hoistway landing doors would be installed at each landing. The channel face was 6 inches high, the metal was �-inch thick. The channel extended horizontally 81 inches across from and parallel to the elevator car. It was welded to I-beams that make up the Level 3 floor joists. The horizontal clearance between the elevator car bi-parting doors and the steel channel was measured at 5-1/2 inches.

  • The elevator had no audible or visible signals to warn of elevator travel. After completed installation of the elevator, the path of its travel would not be accessible.

  • Weather on the day of the accident was cool, clear and dry.


    The root cause of the accident was the failure to establish procedures that required the elevator to be taken out of service when work was being performed near the elevator tower. The accident occurred because the victim was unaware the elevator was descending and the elevator operator was unaware that the victim was positioned in the path of the elevator.


    Order No. 6075647 was issued on February 13, 2002, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:
    A fatal accident occurred at this operation on February 13, 2002, when a contractor employee was trapped between the elevator mancar and the building structure. This order is issued to assure the safety of all persons at this operation. It prohibits the operation of the elevator until MSHA has determined that it is safe to resume normal operations in the area. The mine operator shall obtain prior approval from an authorized representative of the secretary for all actions to recover and/or restore operations to the affected area.
    This order was terminated on February 15, 2002. Conditions that contributed to the accident have been corrected and normal mining operations can resume.

    Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB02M08


    Persons Participating in the Investigation Holcim (US) Inc.
    Jeffrey J. Ouhl .......... project manager, Holly Hill Project
    Phillip R. Morony .......... site manage, Holly Hill Project
    Tidewater Skanska
    John A. Anderson .......... field safety manager
    Albert T. Murden .......... vice president project manager
    Carolina Engineering Conveyors, Inc.
    Edward M. Jessen, Jr. .......... president
    Intervect Alimak - HEK
    Alex B. McWilliam .......... installation manager & safety director
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Michael C. Henley .......... mine safety and health inspector
    Mitchell Adams .......... supervisory mine safety and health inspector
    Thomas B. Barkand .......... electrical engineer
    Jerry K. Taylor .......... mechanical engineer

    Persons Interviewed

    Tidewater Skanska David A. Morgan .......... superintendent
    George Giraldo .......... supervisor
    Michael Randolph .......... carpenter Carolina Engineering Conveyors, Inc.
    Lennox Hinckson .......... engineer
    Shawn Brown .......... elevator operator/laborer