December 7, 2017
The Mine Safety and Health Administration released the Report of Investigation regarding the third metal/non-metal fatality of 2017 that occurred on March 24 at Black Rock Services‘ Bonito Pit, a construction sand and gravel operation in Los Lunas, N.M. Steve Justice, a 53-year-old plant operator, was fatally injured when he exited his personal service truck near a generator trailer and the service truck rolled forward, pinning him between the truck and the trailer.
The investigation showed that Justice, who had been residing in a travel trailer on the mine site for two weeks prior to the accident, turned on the generator to get gas for his vehicle sometime between 4:15 p.m. and 7:40 p.m. on Friday, March 24 and left it running. When the security guard arrived at approximately 7:40 p.m., he noticed the plant light was on, so he went to the generator trailer and turned the plant light off. He then went to Justice’s trailer to see if Justice wanted him to turn off the generator, but Justice said he would take care of it, so the security guard worked his shift and left the mine at approximately 4:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 25.
On Monday, March 27, a front-end loader operator arrived at approximately 5:45 a.m. to begin work and noticed Justice’s truck near the generator trailer. When he approached the truck, he found Justice pinned between the truck and generator. Emergency medical crews and law enforcement arrived at approximately 6:15 a.m. and pronounced Justice dead a short time later. The official cause of death was traumatic asphyxia.
The investigation concluded that sometime after 7:40 pm on Friday, March 24, Justice drove to the generator trailer, exited the cab with the truck running and in gear, and walked between the truck and trailer with his back to the truck. Because of the ground slope, the truck rolled forward and pinned Justice between the truck and the trailer, resulting in his death.
The following root cause and corrective action were identified:
Root Cause: Management’s policies and work practices were inadequate and failed to ensure parking procedures were followed when leaving mobile equipment unattended.
Corrective Action: Management has developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on parking procedures for unattended mobile equipment. Mine management has provided training to all employees on the new SOP and will be including it in their Site-Specific Hazard Awareness Program to address all other vehicular traffic on the mine site.
The company received one order and two citations.