MSHA releases investigation report on January 2017 miner fatality

Kerry Clines

January 31, 2018


The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) released its Report of Investigation regarding the fatality that occurred on Jan. 25, 2017, at the Linwood Mine in Davenport, Iowa. Ronald G. Trich, Jr., a 52-year-old haul truck driver with more than 25 years of experience, was fatally injured at the underground limestone mine when he crossed over a berm into an area that was barricaded off due to dangerous conditions to search for crystals. Part of the rib collapsed, burying him under material.

MSHA’s accident investigation team arrived at the mine site the following day and conducted an investigation with assistance from mine management and employees. Investigators conducted a physical examination of the accident scene, a review of documents, including training records, interviews with employees, and a review of company procedures.

Investigators believed Trich was searching for crystals when the rib failure occurred. They found a small hatchet and pry bar in the spoil pile during recovery and found crystals in Trich’s haul truck and on his person. Management had verbally warned Trich twice for going into barricaded areas to look for crystals. Miners who were interviewed stated they had also warned Trich about going into dangerous areas to look for crystals. 


Fatalgram issued after miner hit by falling material in barricaded area of underground mine

Fatalgram issued after miner hit by falling material in barricaded area of underground mine

The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued a Fatalgram following the death of a miner in an underground limestone mine. On Jan. 25, 2017, a ...

Management’s policy was to berm off areas they deemed dangerous to prevent access, and miners were trained not to cross over the berms and not to enter bermed off areas.

MSHA conducted a root cause analysis and the following causes were identified:

Root Cause:  Management’s policies, procedures, and controls did not prevent employees from entering barricaded and dangerous areas.

Corrective action:  Management conducted retraining with miners on barricaded and dangerous areas in the mine and the use of barricades.  Management installed additional berms and signage in these prohibited areas.



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