On May 10, 2016, a 46-year-old maintenance man with six years of experience was fatally injured at an Ash Grove Cement Co. plant in Texas. The victim went to the top of the slurry tank to start the rake system. He fell 50 ft. through a 3- x 4-ft. opening in the walkway into the empty slurry tank below.
The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) released the following best practices to avoid a similar fatality:
- Protect openings near travelways by installing railings, barriers or covers.
- Ensure covers or railings protecting temporary access openings are secured in place at all times when an opening is not being used.
- Provide readily visible warning signs that clearly display the nature of the hazard and any protective action required.
- Wear fall protection where there is a danger of falling.
- Establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards to finish the job safely.
- Train all persons, especially workplace examiners, to recognize and understand safe job procedures before beginning work. Communicate and correct hazards in a timely manner.
This was the sixth fatality reported in calendar year 2016 in metal and nonmetal mining. As of this date in 2015, there were six fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the first Fall of Person fatality in 2016. There was one Fall of Person fatality in the same period in 2015.