Safety and OSHA News

Lack of safety training led to miner’s death

A report by the U.S Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says an Alaskan miner died in a blast because of the company’s failure to adequately train its workers.

On Sept. 7, 2011, Joseph Tagaban, 30, a blaster’s helper, died in the blast at the Kensington Mine, owned by Coeur Alaska. Kensington is an underground gold ore mine in Juneau. Tagaban was struck and killed by rocks and other debris blasted through a bore hole. The cause of death was blunt force trauma.

MSHA’s final report says the hole wasn’t identified before the blast because workers weren’t properly trained.

Kensington Mine is disputing the report’s findings.

The report says miners’ training didn’t specifically address all the hazards associated with blasting.

MSHA also said Kensington’s management failed to provide Tagaban and another miner with a blasting shelter. Both were also not moved away from the blast area “to protect them from concussion and flying material.”

Kensington says MSHA’s report contains critical factual errors.

Two root causes

Specifically, the MSHA report names two root causes for the blast:

  1. Management’s policies and procedures were inadequate and failed to ensure that persons were trained to be out of the blast area or in a location that would protect them from concussion, flying material, or gases. Corrective action: Management implemented new policies and procedures for blasting that removes all persons from the blast area.
  2. Management failed to ensure that persons were trained to conduct adequate workplace examinations to identify hazards. Corrective action: Management provided additional training regarding workplace examination to all miners.
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