A 28-year-old haul truck driver was killed when his haul truck, which was parked on a grade, rolled downhill and pinned him against his personal pickup truck, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
MSHA investigators found Frontera Materials Inc., operator of the Mobile Crusher #3 mine in Hidalgo County, Texas, failed to provide haul truck operators with chocks or make sure they followed proper parking procedures.
Parked on grade to get lunch
On April 19, 2021, David Garcia Jr. was instructed by his supervisor to haul waste material and dump it in a pit where it would later be transferred to different hoppers for crushing, sizing, and screening. The finished product would then be sold to the construction industry.
Garcia had parked his personal pickup truck in a parking area that was also used for mine mobile equipment, including the haul truck he was operating. At 10:35 a.m., Garcia was seen driving the haul truck into this parking area to have lunch. An hour later, he was found pinned between the left front bumper of the haul truck and the driver’s side door of his pickup truck. The haul truck’s engine was still running.
Co-workers attempted CPR, but Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene when emergency responders arrived.
No chocks, failed to use parking brake
Investigators determined that the there were no wheel chocks on the haul truck to block the tires from motion while parked and that the parking brake hadn’t been set on the vehicle while it was left unattended on a 2% grade.
While there were no witnesses, MSHA determined that the haul truck rolled down the grade, where Garcia had parked it while he was eating lunch and struck him, pinning him between the two vehicles.
Based on interviews and a check of the mobile equipment at the scene, investigators found the mine operator failed to provide chocks and didn’t establish parking procedures for mobile equipment.
Equipment, training, separate parking lots provided
The mine operator has since provided a set of chocks for every piece of mobile equipment and trained all of its miners on proper parking procedures for unattended mobile equipment.
Designated parking areas for personal vehicles separate from mobile equipment were also created to help prevent a similar incident from occurring.