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MSHA releases fatalgram on Midas death

MSHA releases fatalgram on Midas death

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ELKO — Richard C. Otto, a miner with 32 years of experience, was killed April 28 at the Midas Mine, the Mine Safety and Health Administration reported in a fatalgram Friday.

The fatalgram provided basic information on the accident and listed the “best practices” mines should take to avoid injuries or deaths.

MSHA’s preliminary report stated Otto, 53, was operating “a jackleg drill when his clothing became entangled in the drill steel of the machine. Another miner found him unresponsive in the heading.”

Otto was found by the other miner at about 11:30 a.m., according to Klondex Mines Ltd., which owns Midas.

“We are devastated by the loss of Richard,” said Klondex Chief Operating Officer Brent Kristof. “He was our employee, work mate and friend. Our primary concern is the well-being of his family and our employees.  Any reports at this time are preliminary as the root cause of this incident is not yet known. We are fully engaged with MSHA and other expertise to understand what happened so that appropriate actions can be taken to prevent a similar tragedy at any mining operation.”

The fatal accident investigation report is not available yet.

Midas is more than 90 miles northwest of Elko.

Klondex bought the mine from Newmont Mining Corp. in February.

MSHA said the best practices to avoid accidents include:

• Ensure that persons are trained, including task-training, to understand the hazards associated with the work being performed.

• Establish and discuss safe work procedures before beginning work. Identify and control all hazards associated with the work to be performed and use methods to properly protect persons.  

• Conduct work place examinations before beginning any work.

• Do not place yourself in a position that will expose you to hazards while performing a task.

• Stop the drill rotation when performing tasks near the rotating steel.

• Provide safe routing of hoses and cables so they are not close to the rotation of the drill.

• Do not assign a person to work alone in areas where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger his or her safety.

• Do not wear loose fitting clothing when working around drilling machinery.

• Keep work areas clean and free of tripping hazards.

This is the 10th fatality reported this year in metal and nonmetal mining in the U.S. As of this May 9, 2013, there were six fatalities reported in metal and nonmetal mining. This is the third machinery fatality in 2014. There was one machinery fatality in the same period in 2013.

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