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Mining boss dies after failing to brake

Dozer death
Dozer death

A resources decision-maker became fatally crushed due to not using his heavy vehicle’s stopping device.

Jimmy Wooten Senior died shortly after a 2018 Komatsu D65PX-18 accidentally ran over him at the Wooten operation, 258km southwest of Little Rock.

The mine owner had performed maintenance work on the dozer when he “accidentally” put the transmission into reverse on 4 August 2022. The track moved the kneeling victim to the rear of the dozer where he was run over.

“Driver Casey Davis got out of his truck and ran to Wooten Sr. Davis checked Wooten Sr. for a pulse but did not detect one … [and the] coroner arrived and pronounced Wooten Sr. deceased at 5:15 pm.”

Authorities found the 67-year-old had failed to engage the park brake.

“The accident occurred because the mine operator did not block the bulldozer against hazardous motion before performing maintenance,” the Mine Safety and Health Administration said in its final investigation report.

“According to interviews and an examination of the scene, when Davis found Wooten Sr. the bulldozer was idling in reverse, the parking brake was not set and the control lever for the left joystick was raised.”

A diagnostic check was performed on the onboard monitoring system and produced no fault codes. All controls and safety devices functioned properly. No deficiencies were found to have contributed to the incident.

Investigators made the following recommendations:

  • set the parking brake on mobile equipment when parked, repairing or maintaining equipment
  • block or use other means to prevent unintended motion should testing or activation be required to the extent that adjustments or testing cannot be performed without motion or activation.

Click here to read the full investigation report.

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