On Dec. 15, 2015, a 75-year old tow truck laborer was killed at the Summit Materials plant in Davenport, Iowa. As the tow truck operator was lowering the truck’s boom it struck the victim. The victim suffered a severe head wound and later died of his injuries.

The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) released the following best practices to avoid a similar fatality:

  • Position yourself only in areas where you will not be exposed to hazards resulting from a sudden release of energy. Be aware of your location in relation to machine parts that can move.
  • Establish communications between equipment operators and machine helpers. Make sure those around you know your intentions.
  • Positively block machine parts (including hydraulic boom lifts) and suspended loads from motion prior to entering areas underneath them.
  • Ensure that persons are properly task trained regarding safe operating procedures before allowing them to operate mobile equipment and monitor work to ensure procedures are followed.
  • Ensure that all operating systems and safety features on mobile equipment are maintained and functional at all times.
  • Operate all machinery in accordance with manufacturers operating guidelines.
  • Wear all appropriate personal protective equipment.

This was the 16th fatality reported in 2015 in metal and nonmetal mining. During the same period in 2014, there 28 fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This was the fifth machinery fatality in 2015. There were three machinery fatalities in the same period in 2014.

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