Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder

FOLLOWING an August machinery accident that took the life of a 24-year-old Wyoming miner, the US Mine Safety and Health Authority has issued a reminder about the best practices for operating machinery and vehicles.
Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder Ute-crush fatality prompts safety reminder

Scene of an August 16 fatality in Wyoming

Staff Reporter

Jacob Dowdy, 24, was killed on August 16 at about 12.39am in a machinery accident at Thunder Basin Coal’s Black Thunder surface complex in Campbell County, Wyoming.

“A P&H 2800 electric shovel was ascending an approximate 9% grade when the shovel lost propel capabilities and rolled backwards down the grade, crushing two Ford F350 flatbed utility pickup trucks,” the agency said.

“One pickup operator [Dowdy] received fatal crushing injuries and the second pickup operator was entrapped for approximately one-and-a-half hours.”

The injured miner was transported by ambulance to a nearby medical center for treatment.

MSHA said in a statement Wednesday that to prevent accidents such as this, it was important to ensure the grade was within equipment capabilities and that equipment braking and steering systems were functioning properly.

The agency also said it was necessary to implement procedures that required smaller vehicles to maintain a safe distance from large mobile equipment, and to train employees in the use of clear communication.

Road widths needed to be sufficient for equipment movement and in areas of high or congested activity, specific roadways or alternate routes should be provided for light-duty vehicles.

According to federal data, the Black Thunder mine has 1574 workers, with 1548 working at the mine itself. There were 277 miners on shift at the time of the incident.

Dowdy is the 13th miner to die in US coal in 2013 and the first in Wyoming.

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