A Nevada mine has been cited for serious safety violations in worker deaths

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Federal investigators are investigating a Nevada gold mine for safety violations the death of an underground workerincluding inadequate inspections and a faulty rear camera on the truck, it backed into a deep hole before hitting the mine floor.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration ordered three corrective actions and cited Nevada Gold Mines for a serious safety violation in the February 2022 death of Marissa Hill, 34, at an underground mine in Cortez County in Eureka County.

Official citations may include further fines. It was cited for gross violations — failure to place a required sign and a protective berm near the opening pit of Hill’s liquid truck, which fell backwards and overturned 60 feet (18 meters) down.

“This apparent unsafe condition has existed for approximately two months and management has been traveling the area on a daily basis looking for deficiencies,” MSHA said.

“The mine operator engaged in aggravated conduct amounting to more than ordinary negligence in not being aware of the dangerous situation and failing to take appropriate measures to remedy it in a timely manner,” he said.

MSHA has determined that a rearview camera is required on the back of a truck that has not been working properly for years. It was difficult to maintain because the vibration would snap the cables in the wet and muddy conditions around the mine, so “miners did not report any faults for more than two years,” the report said.

Elko Daily Free Press MSHA released a final report on the death investigation Wednesday, First reported.

Nevada Gold Mines said MSHA’s death report serves as “a stark reminder that nothing is more important than the health, safety and well-being of our employees and business partners.”

“We are saddened by the loss of our colleague Marissa Hill, and we are committed to our commitment to preventing deaths in the line of duty,” a statement sent to The Associated Press on Friday said.

The investigation, which MSHA began the day after the February 14, 2022 accident, found that management and the mine operator had decided two years before the accident to “fail to follow their standard operating procedures” regarding the installation of berms and safety signs at the mine. access points to such openings, which are called “stations”.

The gold-bearing ore drilled and blasted from the stopes is brought to the surface and scheduled to be recharged when production at the stope is complete. Work on the site was completed on Jan. 5, and it was ready to be filled, but sat unprotected, the report said.

The investigator determined that inadequate workplace inspections, including poor condition records, contributed to the accident. The report states that Safety Inspector Nathan Dillion told Chief Operations Officer Michael Gill that when he worked at the Cortez surface mine, MSHA cited the mine for failing to record workplace examinations.

“Dillion also told Gill that he knew the Cortez underground mine would soon be cited because tests were not properly recorded,” the report said.

SHA said the company has taken a number of corrective measures since the accident, including installing new berms and signs at all open stations and functional backup cameras on the remaining lubrication vehicles.

“We are focused on ensuring the personal safety of everyone in our workplace as we work together on our journey to zero harm,” Nevada Gold Mines said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Marissa’s family, friends and colleagues. Such a tragic event is felt by everyone in our community,” it said.

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