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METAL/NONMETAL MINE FATALITY - On August 6, 2008, a 38 year-old shift foreman with 15 years experience was fatally injured on the surface of an underground potash mine. The victim was electrocuted when he contacted an energized steel water line. One conductor of a 480-volt electrical circuit short-circuited to an abandoned heater tape where both circuits passed through a common condulet box. The heater tape, which was attached to the water line, overheated and energized the water line to 277 volts.

Photo of Accident Scene Described in the Paragraph Above

Best Practices
  • Examine the work area for any potential hazards.
  • Label all power switches to identify which units they control.
  • Ground all metal enclosing electrical circuits.
  • Conduct continuity and resistance tests of all grounding systems.
  • Keep workplaces clean and orderly.
  • Remove all abandoned electrical circuits.
  • 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 12th fatality reported in calendar year 2008 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2007, there were 21 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the 1st Electrical fatality in 2008. There were no Electrical fatalities in the same period in 2007.

    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