MSHA: 30-year-old contract driller killed in machinery accident, 17th fatality in metal and non-metal sector

Tina Grady Barbaccia

November 8, 2012

MSHA fatalgram photo
Photo courtesy of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) /

A 30-year old contract driller with six years of experience was killed at Northeast Solite Corp.’s Mount Marion Pit and Mill, a common shale operation in New York, on Nov. 1 in a machinery accident, according to a Nov. 8 report from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The victim apparently attempted to thread a new drill steel manually, with the use of a strap and the drill head rotating, when the rotating steel entangled him, according to the MSHA report.

This is the 17th fatality reported in the 2012 calendar year in the metal and non-metal mining industries. As of this date in 2011, there were 12 fatalities reported in these industries. This is the 6th Powered Haulage fatality in 2012. There were 2 Machinery fatalities in the same period in 2011.

MSHA offers these best practices to avoid future fatalities:

  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures. Identify and control all hazards. Train all persons to recognize all potential hazards and understand safe job procedures to eliminate all hazards before beginning work.
  • Ensure that the manufacturer’s procedures are followed when adding drill steels.
  • Ensure that emergency stop/shut-off switches, panic bars, dead man devices, tethers, slap bars, rope switches, two handed controls, spring loaded controls, are functional and in easily accessible locations.
  • Never manually thread drill steels when the drill head is rotating.
  • Drills should be fitted with automated systems for changing rods, or two persons should be present when rods are changed manually.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing when working around drilling machinery. Avoid using a strap or other objects that could become entangled with or thrown from moving or rotating parts.
  • Monitor personnel routinely to ensure procedures are followed.

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