MSHA Fines Sand and Gravel Company $127,000

The Mine Safety and Health Administration proposed fines totaling up to $127,000 against Oddee Smith and Sons Inc., a Mississippi-based sand and gravel operation where a miner was killed in an accident June 29, 2005.

An equipment operator at the Macedonia Pit Mine was killed when the pan scraper he was operating overturned, pinning him under the cab. An MSHA investigation found that three of the four brakes on the pan scraper, which is used to create roadways, had been intentionally disabled and that management knew about the condition of the brakes.

"MSHA will assess strong penalties, as in this case, when a miner suffered fatal injuries because the operator failed to provide safe working conditions, " said MSHA Acting Administrator David Dye.

MSHA assessed the following fines for alleged safety violations:

  • Failure to maintain the pan scraper's brakes in functional condition $52,500;
  • Continued use of the scraper with inadequate brakes $52,500; and
  • Failure to provide a berm or impeding device on the elevated edge of the stockpile $22,000.

MSHA found that the first two violations resulted from the operator's reckless disregard, and the third resulted from the operator's high negligence. Reckless disregard is the highest level of negligence MSHA can cite.

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