Knoxville, Tenn. (WorkersCompensation.com) – Federal officials are investigating the death of a 26-year-old Kentucky man who was killed in a “powered haulage” incident recently.
Cody Scott Maggard, of Corbin, Ky., died last Monday afternoon at the Immel Mine in the Strawberry Plains area of Knox County. The Immel Mine is a Nyrstar zinc mine.
Officials with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) are investigating the incident and have classified it as a powered haulage accident.
According to the MSHA website, powered haulage covers accidents caused by the motion of a haulage unit, which can include motors and rail cars, conveyors, belt feeders, longwall conveyors, bucket elevators, vertical manlifts, self-loading scrapers or pans, shuttle cars, etc., and can include accidents that are “caused by an energized or moving unit or failure of component parts. If a car dropper suffers an injury as a result of falling from a moving car, charge the accident to haulage.”
A preliminary report from MSHA said Maggard was “crushed between a rail-mounted locomotive and an ore chute.”
Officials said they were called to the mine around 3:40 p.m. on Feb. 22 about a man injured in a mine shaft. Nyrstar, a mining company located in the Netherlands, said Maggard died at the scene.
Nyrstar issued a statement of condolences.
“The company extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the employee who had worked at the mine for almost 5 years,” the company said. “Nyrstar is offering counselling and other support to colleagues who have been affected by this tragic incident.”
Mike Cohen, spokesman for American Medical Response ambulance company, said an ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but that the employee had already passed by the time it arrived. Maggard’s body was taken to the Knox County Medical Examiner’s office.
Powered Haulage Accidents
According to WBIR 10News, Laura K. McGinnis, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees the MSHA, powered haulage incidents account for a disproportionate percentage of mining fatalities.
Since Feb. 27, 2020, eight of the 30 fatal accidents in mines were attributed to powered haulage. Just two weeks earlier, a miner at the Washington County Aggregates Inc. in Potusi, Mo., was killed in a powered haulage incident when, according to preliminary MSHA reports, “he became entangled in a fluted tail pulley.”
Ten fatalities during that same timeframe were attributed to machinery and three were attributed to slips or falls.
Nystar has several other mines in Tennessee. The company has seen previous issues as well.
In 2014, it was fined $5,000 by MSHA for not reporting a death at one of its Tennessee mines quickly enough. One of its employees committed suicide in the charge house and the supervisor for the company waited more than 30 minutes to contact the MSHA.
In 2013, emergency personnel were called to the Immel mine for a possible underground fire. There were no injuries in that incident.
In 2012, two employees were injured in an explosion at a Nyrstar zinc mine in Clarksville, Tenn.
However, in March of 2016, Nyrstar Clarksville was named by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development the winner of the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety and Health. The award recognized the mine’s 884,904 combined work hours without a lost-time incident at the Clarksville mine between April 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015
“Believe me, what you’re doing here at Nyrstar Clarksville is not normal. It is abnormal behavior … compared to other smelters,” Steve Hawkins, administrator of the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration said at the time, according to the Leaf Chronicle.