On Wednesday, July 15th, MSHA was notified by the mine operator that a contractor assigned to clean out tanker rail cars was found unconscious inside a tanker rail car. The victim was extricated and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. An investigation is underway. It appears the miner was working alone, was not tethered, and there was no ventilation provided.
- Our concern is there may be other mine properties that may allow tank rail car entry without proper precautions for confined space entry. Please alert all of your mine properties as to this recent fatality and ask them to review their procedures. Also, stress proper personal protective equipment and gas detection methods.
- Safe work procedures must also be established for moving railcars in the plant rail yard. The practice of “gravity/static drop” of cars to their location is unsafe. The brake provided on railcars was not designed to be used as a service brake.