Recent Deaths Lead to Safety Alert

Take note of what caused 11 miners to die in accidents over the past six weeks. Many of the fatal events could happen outside of a mine setting.

In the past six weeks, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has noted a dramatic increase in mining fatalities that has cost the lives of 11 miners. Causes of the accidents indicate that many of the tragic events could happen outside of a mine setting.

MSHA officials are asking safety managers to take the time to review details of the accidents, share them with their work force and pass the word to all concerned.

"Each of these accidents was preventable, making the loss of life even more tragic to the loved ones left behind," MSHA said in an Oct. 26 statement. "If we all pull together miners, supervisors and managers alike we can turn this trend around.

"We must all be our brother's keeper. If you observe a dangerous condition, tell the person at risk immediately and report it

to your supervisor or safety department so it can be corrected."

Following is a brief synopsis of each fatal event:

  • Oct. 12 Two underground miners were rock bolting when the ground caved above the ground support anchors and buried them. The supports were unsuited to the ground conditions.
  • Oct. 20 An electrician was splicing a 480-volt cable when a loose rock fell from the high wall and struck him. Although material had been falling off the wall for some time, no one had corrected the condition, barricaded it or warned the electrician of the hazard.
  • Oct. 23 A miner had drilled two long holes to the drift below and was checking on how they had bottomed out when a roof fall hit the victim.

Fall of a person not tied off

  • Sept. 20 A welder fell 55 feet through an opening in the top of a leach tank. The opening was not barricaded, nor was the victim tied off.
  • Oct. 12 A laborer fell 100 feet when the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed from poor maintenance. The victim was not tied off.

Powered haulage, mobile equipment operation

  • Sept. 16 A water truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle and crashed into an embankment.
  • Sept. 29 A laborer was climbing out of the window of a loader/forklift when the boom fell and crushed him. He had inadvertently activated the controls during his exit.
  • Oct. 14 A lube-maintenance man parked on the blind side of a haul truck and had signaled the driver he had completed his work. The haul truck driver pulled out and turned to his blind side, rather than to the side with good visibility, running over the lube truck. The truck driver also failed to sound his horn prior to moving.

Electrical lockout

  • Oct. 20 An electrician was electrocuted when the de-energized circuit on which he was working was energized. The electrician had not locked out the circuit.


  • Oct. 18 A shaft maintenance man was wearing a safety lanyard. It was not tied off, and the free end became snagged on a shaft guide bolt. The maintenance man was pulled into the moving machinery.
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