A preliminary report released for the Dec. 4 mining incident at Arch Materials in Jackson Township, Ohio, that injured two workers underground when rock debris fell on their safety cage.
The incident occurred at the Arch Materials limestone mine located at 4438 state Route 276. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resource Management (ODNR) is working in partnership with the Mine Safety and Health Administration to investigate the incident.
The incident occurred at 3:15 p.m., Dec. 4, according to the preliminary report.
Jonathon Stiver, 23, and Brennen Boyd, 20, were working from a PK15002 Palfinger crane lift on a Ford F-750 chassis, and a third worker, Jonathan Kinney, was at the door of the truck.
At the time of the incident, the lift basket floor was positioned four feet from the mine floor.
Stiver and Boyd were loading ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO) – an industrial explosive – into holes drilled by a production drill; they were working on the second row from the floor.
That’s when a rock, measuring five feet long by two-and-a-half feet wide by 11 inches thick, came away from the roof brow – a low place in the roof of a mine – and fell 16 feet, hitting the canopy of the lift.
Kinney then called for help. Mine Foreman Tyler Ogden helped with first aid and removed the injured workers harnesses.
Stiver and Boyd were later transported outside by company vehicles, and taken from the mine site by the local Emergency Medical Services. Both were then medevac’d from an offsite location to UC Hospital.
Both men suffered back injuries and were listed in stable condition.
Stiver and Boyd were up to date on their miner training and were trained to do the work they were conducting at the time of the incident.
The “area was bolted within 3’ of the face and had been scaled,” the report said. “The fallen rock had scale marks on it also. Foreman reports showed no recent adverse roof conditions. Recommendations discussed was making sure proper lighting was available to make visual checks.”
“The investigation is ongoing,” said a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs. “Until the ground conditions are corrected, the affected mine will be posted with a warning against entry. When left unattended, a barrier shall be installed to deny entry into the area.”
Representatives from Arch Materials have declined to comment on the accident.
The company has been mining in Jackson Township for about 10 years.
Arch Materials said mining activity will take place about 1,000 feet below the surface. In addition, company officials said, the mining company blasts and mines out about 2/3 of the sought after material, and leaves the remaining 1/3 to serve as pillars, to hold up the subterranean ground.
The pillars are to remain in place after the area has been mined.
The mining company does not propose any structures, access or surface level mining, according to the staff report, which states that mining access will remain from the Jackson Township facility.