MSHA: Falling material death at Martinez Stone

A 41 year- old laborer with four years of experience died on Dec. 29, 2010, at Martinez Stone in Texas, a dimension stone operation, because of falling material, according to a report from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The victim was replacing a hydraulic lift arm cylinder on a skid steer loader. The lift arms suddenly lowered, pinning him against the frame of the machine.

MSHA has given the following best practices:

  • Establish safe work procedures and identify and remove hazards before beginning
  • repair or maintenance tasks. Follow the equipment manufacturer’s procedures for the work being performed to ensure that all hazards have been addressed.
  • Train persons to recognize the hazards associated with performing repair o maintenance tasks.
  • Prior to performing repair or maintenance tasks, turn the power off and block any raised component against accidentally lowering.
  • Assign a sufficient number of persons to repair or maintenance tasks to ensure the tasks can be safely performed.
  • Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing repair or maintenance tasks.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to determine that safe work procedures are followed.

This is the 24th fatality reported in calendar year 2010 in the metal and nonmetal mining industries. As of this date in 2009, there were 16 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the sixth falling material fatality in 2010.

There were three falling material fatalities in the same period in 2009.