WORLD OF DANGER: LIGHT VEHICLE SAFETY
On November 5, 2019, Kenny L. Mattson started work at 4:55 a.m. Mattson worked alone, performing maintenance at various working places. At approximately 9:35 a.m., David J. Woods, Truck Driver, observed Mattson traveling east on the East Pits haul road toward the Laurentian and Lynx pits. Woods saw Mattson momentarily stop on the haul road, then resume traveling around a roadway curve and out of sight. As Woods rounded the same curve a short time later, he discovered Mattson’s service truck overturned on the driver’s side in the roadway. Woods radioed for emergency assistance. Mine emergency response team members and plant security responded to the scene followed by local police and fire departments. Justin Root, Paramedic, City of Virginia Fire Department pronounced Mattson dead at the scene, at approximately 10:06 a.m. Root documented the victim’s primary cause of death as “Traumatic Injury” and “Cardiac Arrest” as secondary cause of death. According to the medical examiner, since the victim had obvious multiple blunt force traumas, he performed an external exam only.
On November 5, 2019, at 9:50 a.m., Mark Anderson, Safety Manager, contacted the Department of Labor National Contact Center (DOLNCC). The DOLNCC contacted Daniel J. Goyen, Mine Safety and Health Specialist. Richard V. Boeckerman, Supervisory Mine Safety and Health Inspector responded to the accident. Upon arrival, Boeckerman issued an order under the provision of Section 103(k) of the Mine Act to ensure the safety of the miners and began the investigation. On November 6, 2019 at 8:00 a.m., Duane L. Hongisto, Mine Safety and Health Inspector arrived on the scene to continue the fatal accident investigation. On November 8, 2019, Gary Rethage and Mark Kvitkovich, Mechanical Engineers, with MSHA’s Approval & Certification Center, assisted with the investigation. On November 12, 2019, Amy A. Sandelin, Mine Safety and Health Specialist, with MSHA’s Educational Field and Small Mine Services, assisted in the review of training plans and documentation.
“The investigators examined the driver’s seat belt and found the buckle to be functional. However, the seat belt retractor mechanism did not function properly.”
MSHA’s accident investigation team conducted a physical examination of the accident scene, and interviewed mine management, mine employees, the union representative, local law enforcement and rescue agencies. See Appendix A for a list of persons who participated in the investigation and those interviewed.
Location of Accident
The accident occurred on the “East Pits” haul road leading to the Laurentian and Lynx pits. The haul road was hard-packed dirt, wide and relatively level with an approximate one percent grade. Berms, approximately ten feet high, alongside the roadway were made of hard-packed spoil material. Cold dry weather conditions created a frozen, but not icy, roadway.
The weather at the time of the accident was 17° F with clear skies. Investigators did not consider the weather to be a factor at the time of the accident. Equipment Involved The service truck involved in the accident was a 2012 Freightliner M2 Business Class, VIN 1FVACXDTODHFE6526, equipped with a Model 7500 IMT crane. Examination of the service truck did not reveal mechanical deficiencies or defects that would have caused the accident. Tires on the service truck exhibited adequate tread depth and did not show any signs of mechanical damage. The investigators examined the driver’s seat belt and found the buckle to be functional. However, the seat belt retractor mechanism did not function properly.
Investigators were unable to determine if this condition existed before the accident or if the accident damaged the seat belt retractor. Since Mattson was ejected from the vehicle and the seat belt was found to be unfastened, investigators concluded that the victim was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident.
TRAINING & EXPERIENCE
Kenny L. Mattson had 15 years of mining experience with Minorca and met all Part 48 training requirements. Root Cause Root Cause: Minorca’s policy required drivers and passengers of all vehicles to wear seat belts at all times. A seat belt was not in use at the time of the accident, allowing ejection from the cab of the vehicle. Corrective action: The company retrained all employees on seat belt usage and modified their policy to include performing a proper seat belt examination to ensure its functionality.
Kenny L. Mattson, died while operating his service truck; it veered off the road, struck a berm, and ejected him as it overturned.