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Mine Disasters in the United States


Women Killed in Mine Accidents

Sterling Materials
Sterling Materials Powered Haulage Accident

Verona, Gallatin County, Kentucky
May 15, 2012
No. Killed 1

Final Accident Investigation Report  External Link

Video: Woman Killed in North Kentucky Mine Accident    External Link

Other Woman Killed in Mine Accidents  


Description of Accident

On the day of the accident, May 15, 2012, Angela W. Common (victim) reported to work at 7:10 a.m.  For the first hour, Common completed "Newly Hired Experienced Miner" training in the mine office.  She started this training the day before but needed an additional hour to complete the required training.

At approximately 8:10 a.m., Robert Stanifer, Shift Supervisor, and Common traveled underground in a pickup truck.  They traveled to Level 2 at Southwest 5, where a front-end loader was loading haul trucks.  Stanifer stopped a haul truck operated by Adam Chapman (Roof Bolter/Truck Driver).  Stanifer told Chapman to refresh Common on the operation of the truck while she rode with Chapman.

About 8:30 a.m., Chapman resumed operating the truck with Common riding as a passenger.  At this time, the truck was being loaded on Level 2 at Southwest 5, hauling down the West Slope to the Level 3 crusher.  Chapman hauled approximately 12 loads down the West Slope with Common in the truck.  At approximately 11:30 a.m., Chapman asked Common if she wanted to operate the haul truck but she asked to continue observing him operate the truck.

About 12:15 p.m., Stanifer called Chapman on the radio for a progress check.  Immediately after this call, Common started operating the haul truck with Chapman riding in the passenger seat.  She hauled approximately four loads with Chapman as an observer.

At approximately 12:30 p.m., Stanifer and Chapman left to go to another area of the mine.  Common began operating the haul truck alone and resumed hauling down the West Slope to the third level crusher.  She hauled approximately 14 loads until 2:30 p.m.  About this same time, Stanifer was traveling up the West Slope from Level 3 when he called Common via radio and told her to hold the loaded haul truck at the top of the slope in order to let him pass.  Investigators could not determine whether Common was on the slope and had to back up or if she was at the top and backed up to let Stanifer pass.

At 2:40 p.m., Stanifer returned from the Level 3 (east side) of the slope where he discovered Common's haul truck 55 feet up the West Slope.  Stanifer called Tammy McIntyre, Level 2 Crusher Operator, and told her to call Chris Pulliam, Superintendent, and tell him to go to the West Slope.  McIntyre called Pulliam and he drove down the slope to the truck.  Pulliam could not find Common in the truck.  He walked up the slope and found her lying on the ground approximately 100 feet from the truck.  Pulliam checked Common but she was nonresponsive.

Pulliam told Stanifer to call MSHA personnel, who were in another area of the mine conducting an investigation, and also to call 911.  Stanifer called McIntyre, told her the truck was upside down, and to call MSHA and 911.  Pulliam instructed Stanifer to evacuate the mine and transport the MSHA personnel from Level 2 to the accident site.

At 2:55 p.m., Scott Johnson, MSHA Lexington Field Office Supervisor, and Donald Gabbard, MSHA Mine Safety and Health Inspector, arrived at the accident scene, walked up the slope, and checked the victim but she was nonresponsive.  Johnson promptly issued a verbal 103 (k) Order of the Mine Act to Pulliam.  Barry Alexander, Gallatin County EMS, arrived at the accident site at 3:08 p.m.  After assessing the victim, Alexander contacted Jacques Hughes, Gallatin County Coroner.  At 3:56 p.m., Hughes arrived and pronounced the victim dead.  The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.


Woman killed in mining accident in Gallatin County
Fox 19 Now
May 16, 2012

Verona, Kentucky -- One woman is dead after an accident in a Gallatin County limestone mine on Tuesday.

Angela Common, 37, died while operating a new piece of equipment in an underground quarry at Sterling Materials.  Common was driving a large dump truck when she hit a rock wall and was ejected, the truck then rolled over her.  Common had recently returned back to work at Sterling Materials after taking a year off for medical reasons and was taking a refresher course at the time of the accident.

The U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration was at Sterling Materials doing an inspection in another part of the mining shaft at the time of the accident.  All operations in that particular mine have been suspended as the investigation continues.

Common has four children, three boys and a 17 year-old daughter Monica Willougby.  Willoughby and her mother lived together in Carrolton, Kentucky.  Willoughby says she still can't grasp the fact her mother is gone.  "She raised me as a single mom, so she is all I've ever really had," said Willoughby.  "She always put me before her, all of her kids before her."

Commons death is not the first at Sterling Materials.  Federal records show that in 1999, a 22 year-old worker died after his clothes got tangled in a conveyor belt tail pulley.  Sterling Materials was cited but the citation was removed when a guard was installed.

Just a few months before that, two workers were trapped 550 feet into a mine shaft after a piece of limestone fell on them.  Both suffered injuries.  In 2005, Sterling Materials received a safety award for 92,000 man hours of work without an accident.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011 injury accidents were reported with workers.  In 2009, a worker slipped and fell and was not wearing a safety harness.  In 2010 a grinding wheel exploded and cut a worker in the thigh and in 2011 a fallen rock cut a workers hand.



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