Skip to content
PDF Version - (Contains All Graphics)
      Jump to Overview

Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health


Surface Nonmetal Mine
(Construction Sand and Gravel)

Fatal Falling Material Accident
April 11, 2012

GS Materials Inc.
Lemon Springs
Lemon Springs, Harnett County, North Carolina
Mine I.D. No. 31-01990


Bill Handshoe
Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Timothy Schmidt
Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Ricky Boggs
Mine Safety and Health Specialist

Jonathan Hall
Mechanical Engineer

Phillip McCabe
Mechanical Engineer

Originating Office
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Southeast District
135 Gemini Circle, Suite 212 Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Michael A. Davis, District Manager


On April 11, 2012, James T. McNeill, Equipment Operator, age 48, was injured when the counterweight from an excavator fell and struck him. McNeill and Randy White, Plant Manager, were removing bolts from the counterweight in preparation to move the excavator to another mine site. Following the removal of the last of six bolts, the counterweight dropped to the ground. The victim was hospitalized and died on April 12, 2012, as a result of his injuries.

The excavator was purchased about four to five weeks prior to the accident. On the day of the accident, it was to be transported to another mine, owned by the same operator. Due to weight restrictions on the highways, the counterweight had to be removed prior to shipping. The excavator was purchased with an optional hydraulic assist cylinder that allows the counterweight to be removed and reassembled easily and safely.

The accident occurred due to management's failure to follow the manufacturer's procedures for removing the counterweight from the excavator. The excavator was equipped with a hydraulic system that secures and lowers the heavy counterweight to the ground safely; however, this system was not used on the day of the accident. Raised components were not secured to prevent accidental lowering when persons were working on or around mobile equipment and exposed to the hazards of accidental lowering of the component. The victim did not receive task training regarding the procedures to be followed in the health and safety aspects of the task before performing the new task.

This report contains many graphics. Because of that, we are only providing a PDF Version - (Contains All Graphics) . Please use the link below to view the report.

View Fatal Accident Report

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB12M05

Fatality Overview:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon  PowerPoint / PDF