US mining agency issues warning on hazards of moving heavy pipe

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March 25, 2016 Updated 3/25/2016

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US mining agency issues warning on hazards of moving heavy pipe

A 61-year-old truck driver died after a 1,730-pound section of polyurethane pipe rolled on him during the unloading process at a sand and gravel mine in Vista Sand, Texas.

The victim, Elvin Tyrone Terrell, delivered nine pieces of 50-foot long, 26-inch diameter pipe to the primary plant and was waiting for to be unloaded when the fatal accident happened on Feb. 26.

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The pipe was stacked in three layers of three sections and a forklift was being used to remove it from the passenger side of the truck. The first two pieces of pipe had been taken from the top and as they were being hauled away, a single section of pipe rolled off the driver’s side of the truck and landed on the victim.

Miners began first aid but the driver was unresponsive. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead about 1 ½ hours later.

This is the first fatality reported this year in metal and non-metal mining, according to the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), which has issued an alert earlier this month to call attention to the hazards associated with handling pipes at mines. The alert lists best practices for unloading pipes, such as evaluating the stability of material before unfastening a load and installing side stakes as a secondary support to prevent pipes from falling.

Six people have died in pipe-related incidents of falling/sliding materials since 2008, according to the MSHA. In all, 29 people have died in that period with other incidents involving workers clearing hoppers or standing on embankments, in ditches and near blast sites, the MSHA website says.

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