A loader operator at a sand and gravel operation was loading out material from the toe of the highwall.
As the miner finished filling the bucket, a rock came off the highwall and struck the bucket.
The rock damaged the rock guard, smashed the fender into the tire, knocked the work light off and came to rest against the cab, damaging the window.
MSHA’s report advises best practice as follows:
- Operate excavators with the cab perpendicular to, and swinging away from, the highwall
- Immediately remove all personnel exposed to hazardous ground conditions, barricade, and/or post signs to prevent entry, and promptly correct unsafe conditions
- Use mining methods that ensure highwall stability and safe working conditions
- Look, Listen and Evaluate your highwall and pit conditions daily, especially after each rain, freeze, or thaw
- Establish and discuss safe work procedures for working near highwalls
- Be your own examiner and find hazards before they find you.