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Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health


Underground Nonmetal Mine

Fatal Handling Material Accident

April 4, 2002

Peerless Mine
Mississippi Lime Company
Ste. Genevieve, Ste Genevieve County, Missouri
Mine I. D. No. 23-00542

Accident Investigators

Ricky J. Horn
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

David L. Weaver
Mine Safety and Health Specialist

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
South Central District
1100 Commerce Street, Room 462
Dallas, Texas 75242-0499

Edward E. Lopez, District Manager


Jerry L. Vaughn, Maintenance Mechanic, age 54, was fatally injured when he was struck by a dust collector bag that had been dropped from the third floor window of the rotary lime load out building. Vaughn was the spotter on the ground for the crew that was dropping the dust collector bags out of the window.

The accident occurred because the drop area had not been cleared of personnel and had not been guarded to prevent access nor had a warning been given prior to dropping the bags.

Vaughn had 31 years, 5 months mining experience, all at this operation, including 2 years and 2 weeks as a maintenance mechanic. Vaughn had not received annual refresher training in accordance with 30 CFR, Part 48.


Mississippi Lime Company, an underground limestone mine and surface mill, owned and operated by Mississippi Lime Company, was located in Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. The principal operating official was Keith Epsilon, vice president-operations. The mill was operated three 8-hour shifts, seven days a week. The mine was operated three 8-hour shifts, seven days a week. Total employment was 612 persons.

Limestone was mined underground using the room and pillar method. The limestone was drilled, blasted and hauled to the crusher by truck. The crushed limestone was conveyed to the mill where it was put through different processes to produce limestone, calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate and pulverized lime. The products were sold for a variety of industrial and agricultural uses.

The last regular inspection of this operation was completed on February 25, 2002


On April 4, 2002, the day of the accident, Jerry Vaughn, victim reported for work at 6:50 a.m., his normal starting time. The victim and five other maintenance mechanics Eugene H. Naeger, Robert J. Grein, Wayne A. Naeger, Arthur A. Huck and Cecil P. Pittman were assigned to replace the bags in the dust collector on the third floor of the rotary lime load out building.

By 9:00 a.m., the maintenance crew had removed 148 empty bags and 8 full bags from the dust collector. The crew had replaced approximately half the bags by 11:30 a.m., lunchtime. After lunch, the crew returned to the third floor and continued replacing the bags. While Eugene Naeger, Grein and Wayne Naeger installed the new bags, Huck, Pittman and Vaughn folded the old bags and packed most of them into the cardboard boxes that the new bags had came in.

Huck, Pittman and Vaughn decided that Vaughn would be the spotter on the ground while the remaining old bags were dropped from the third floor window. Huck and Pittman started throwing the empty bags out. Two times Vaughn waved his hands above his head to signal Huck and Pittman to stop. One time was to allow a train to pass through on the railroad load-out spur and the other time was to kick some empty bags off the track.

By approximately 1:00 p.m., all of the old, empty dust collector bags had been dropped out the window and there remained eight bags filled with lime dust. Huck and Pittman carried the first full bag to the window. Eugene Naeger took one end of the bag from Pittman and the bag was pushed out the window. After dropping the bag, they observed Vaughn standing past the second railroad track. (See Sketch Appendix C) Pittman and Grein pushed the second bag out the window and then observed Vaughn still standing past the second railroad tracks.

Eugene Naeger and Huck were right behind Pittman and Grein with the third full bad. Eugene Naeger laid his end of the full bag on the window ledge and stepped back to help Huck push the bag out the window. Huck asked Eugene Naeger if it was clear and Naeger said yes. Naeger later stated that he had not looked down to see if it was clear. After they pushed the bag out the window, they looked out and saw the bag strike Vaughn who had moved to the railroad track closest to the building.

Emergency medical personnel were immediately requested and arrived shortly. Vaughn was pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner. Death was attributed to cranio-cerebral injuries.


MSHA was notified of the accident at 3:23 p.m., by a telephone call from Richard Donovan, safety and health manager to Robert Seelke, mine safety and health inspector. An investigation was started that day. An order was issued under the provision of Section 103(k) of the Act to ensure the safety of the miners. MSHA's accident investigation team traveled to the mine, made a physical inspection of the accident scene, interviewed employees, reviewed training records and reviewed conditions and work procedures relevant to the accident. The miners' representative and mine management participated in the investigation.

  • The accident occurred on the railroad tracks adjacent to the west side of the peerless lime load-out building. The railroad track was 18 feet and 8 inches from the building. The bag involved in the accident was pushed out a window 77 feet 2 inches above ground.

  • The Kinetic-Air, model number 156-RS-100 dust collector, that the bag was removed from, was manufactured by Kris Adis Associates, Incorporated. The dust collector was located on the third floor of the peerless rotary lime load-out building.

  • The dust collector bag involved in the accident was one of 156 bags that were being replaced in the dust collector. Southern Filters Media was the manufacturer of the (part number B-100SDS) dust bags. The bags were installed over metal wire cages manufactured by Royal Wire, Part No. C-100GS-S. The bags were 103 inches long and approximately 5 2 inches in diameter.

  • There were 146 empty bags and 3 bags full of lime dust that were dropped from the window. The full bag involved in the accident weighed 92.4 pounds.

  • It was a common practice to drop dust collector bags from elevated locations to ground level at this and other locations at the mine. It was also a common practice to have a spotter on the ground while dropping bags.

  • It was determined that the victim's failure to receive annual refresher training before April 1, 2002 did not cause or contribute to this accident.


    The root cause of the accident was the failure to establish procedures that required drop areas to be cleared of personnel. The accident occurred because the drop area was not cleared prior to dropping the full bag from the elevated location. Contributing factors included the failure to establish positive communication with the ground spotter and to sound a warning before dropping the bags.


    Order No. 6210656 was issued on April 4, 2002, under the provisions of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act:

    A fatal accident occurred at this operation on April 4, 2002, when a maintenance employee was struck by a full dust collector bag that had been dropped from the top floor of the Peerless truck and rail lime loading building. This order is to assure the safety of persons at this operation and prohibits any work in the affected area until MSHA determines that it is safe to resume normal operations as determined by an Authorized Representative of the Secretary of Labor. The mine operator shall obtain approval from an authorized representative for all actions to recover and/or restore operations in the affected area.

    This order was terminated on April 6, 2002. Conditions that contributed to the accident have been corrected and normal operations can resume.

    Citation No. 6208171 was issued on April 11, 2002, under the provisions of Section 104(a) of the Mine Act for violation of 30 CFR 56.16010:

    On April 4, 2002 an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a dust collector bag full of lime dust weighing approximately 92 pounds. The bag was dropped from the third floor of the peerless rotary lime load-out building. The drop area had not been first cleared of personnel and the area had not been guarded nor had warning been given prior to the bag being dropped.

    This citation was terminated on May 28, 2002. The operator implemented procedures requiring that drop areas be defined, cleared of persons and barricaded. Also radio communications will be used between persons on the ground and above. All employees have been instructed in these requirements.

    Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB02M11


    Persons Participating in the Investigation

    Mississippi Lime Company
    Keith E. Espelien ......... operations manager
    Richard L. Donovan ......... safety and health manager
    Jeffery P. Gurley ......... safety supervisor
    Kenneth W. Schlegel ......... maintenance manager
    John F. Cowling ......... attorney
    Julie O. O'Keefe ......... attorney
    Dave A. Armbruster ......... peerless rotary plant manager
    Larry J. Klump ......... miners representative quarry workers local 829
    Mine Safety and Health Administration
    Ricky J. Horn ......... mine safety and health inspector
    David L. Weaver ......... mine safety and health specialist


    Persons Interviewed

    Union Pacific Rail Road

    Melvin C. Huck ......... train engineer
    Kenneth E. Wolk ......... conductor
    Thomas N. Tindall ......... switcher
    Mississippi Lime Company
    Wayne W. Wehner ......... production supervisor
    Richard C. Rudloff ......... maintenance shift Foreman
    Eugene H. Naeger ......... maintenance mechanic
    Arthur A. Huck ......... maintenance mechanic
    Cecil P. Pittman ......... maintenance mechanic
    Robert J. Grein ......... maintenance mechanic
    Wayne A. Naeger ......... maintenance mechanic
    Kenneth S. Joggerst ......... iron steel worker
    Edward F. Naeger ......... iron steel worker
    Kenneth W. Schlegel ......... maintenance manager
    Sheriff's Department
    Dwayne Henslee ......... detective sergeant #8504
    Leo Basler, Jr. ......... coroner