Independent contractor fatalities in the mining industry: a look at contributing factors

Barrett, E. A. ; Rethi, L. L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Throughout all segments of the United States mining industry, 163 independent contractor employees were fatally injured between 1990 and 1997. Factors that contributed to these injuries were identified after reviewing descriptive information contained in Mine Safety and Health Administration fatality reports for each of the incidents. Thirty-three unique contributing factors were identified and multiple factors were noted for each fatality. Those most frequently discerned were "failure to follow `standard operating procedures"', (35% of the fatalities), "poor positioning of employee" (26% of the fatalities) and "failure to maintain equipment" (23% of the fatalities). Contributing factors were then associated with the accident and job classifications of the victims. Factors having the highest frequencies in the top five accident classifications where most fatalities occurred were as follows: powered haulage - "failure to maintain equipment"; machinery - "poor positioning of employee"; slip/fall of person - "inadequate fall protection" and "failure to wear safety line"; electrical - "equipment contact with power line"; and falling/rolling/sliding rock - "poor positioning of employee. " Among the job classifications in which most fatalities occurred, leading contributing factors were as follows: truck driver - "failure to follow standard operating procedures" and "poor positioning of employee"; laborer/utility man/pumper - "poor positioning of employee"; mechanic/ repairman and welder - "failure to follow standard operating procedures." Recommendations for utilizing contributing factor information as a basis for safety training are proposed. Training programs may be developed that inform independent contractor employees of factors which, in the past, have contributed to fatal injuries in their job classifications. Then, by combining this information with contributing factors identified in "related" accident classifications, a truly focused training intervention that addresses very specific workplace hazards may he developed.
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