Inadequate training led to death: MSHA

A REPORT by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration has pointed to a lack of training as a contributory factor in the December 2008 death of a Kentucky preparation plant worker.

Donna Schmidt

Contract worker Timothy Albright died on December 11, 2008, at Warrior Coal’s Warrior preparation facility in Hopkins County, Kentucky. The facility was under construction at the time.

The worker was operating a man-lift between the fourth and fifth floors when the platform became caught on the lower beam, then suddenly dislodged and the man struck his head.

The agency noted the machine in use was a Genie model S-85 Telescopic S Stick Boom four-wheel drive personnel lift, and that the accident occured at approximately 75 feet above ground level.

The agency found no defects when it tested the man-lift’s platform and the control console functions, turntable console and drive controls.

“Miners were not trained adequately in the safe operating procedures to be followed in the event the platform of the man-lift becomes caught or entangled with an adjacent structure,” the report stated.

“Once the platform became caught, neither Albright nor his foreman knew the proper actions to take to safely remove the platform from the structure. This lack of knowledge to take the appropriate actions resulted in the accident.”

As a corrective action, the agency ordered all company and contract employees be trained in safe operating procedures of man-lifts.

MSHA issued two 104(a) citations in relation to the accident, the first because contractors General Mine Contracting and Matrix Design Group were not adequately trained on aerial lift operations.

The second citation cited only Matrix Design for insufficient task training on the units.

No fines were indicated in the investigation documents.

A regular health and safety inspection of 37-worker, 7500tpd Warrior was in process at the time of the incident.

The facility’s 2008 total injury incidence rate was 5.58 versus the national average of 2.79 for preparation plants.