Monday, March 30, 2009

Sand and gravel fatality

Joseph A. Lerma Jr., journeyman heavy equipment operator, age 41, was injured on Jan. 6 while operating a skid steer loader underneath a belt conveyor that was being dismantled, according to MSHA's latest fatality report. Two coworkers were in an elevated man lift cutting braces from the leg supports of the belt conveyor support structure. A 12-ft. x 4-in. piece of steel box tubing fell into the cab of the skid steer loader as it approached the work area, striking Lerma. He was hospitalized and died on Jan. 9.

According to MSHA, the accident occurred because management failed to establish procedures to ensure that persons could safely dismantle the belt conveyor support system. A risk assessment to ensure all hazards were identified and controls were used to protect persons was not conducted. Persons were not trained on hazards and safe work procedures before performing the task. Persons were permitted to work underneath the belt conveyor support structure while braces were being cut above them. -- Mark S. Kuhar

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