August 7, 2017
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a Serious Accident Alert after trench walls collapsed on four miners at a sand and gravel mine in New Mexico. On June 29, 2017, two miners were attempting to access a plugged grizzly screen by excavating a slot cut trench when the trench walls collapsed in on them, engulfing the miners. Two other miners attempted a rescue, but they, too, became trapped when the walls of the trench collapsed further. The material was waist high on three of the miners and over the shoulders on the fourth miner. After rescue teams worked intensely for several hours, all four were eventually freed from the debris and flown to a nearby hospital. The accident occurred on June 29, 2017.
MSHA offers the following Best Practices to help prevent this type of accident: