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Women Killed in Mine Accidents

Lone Star Industries
Lone Star Quarry and Mill Machinery Fatality

Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County Missouri
February 12, 1986
No Killed - 1

MSHA Final Investigation Report  PDF Format

Other Woman Killed in Mine Accidents

Description of Accident

On February 12, 1986, Karen Laverne Welker, general truck driver, reported for work at 7 a.m., her regular starting time.  She was assigned to use the Dempster Dumpster to haul waste containers to the plant dump.  The first container to be hauled was in the clinker cooler area.  This container was filled with clinker dust and coal dust.  Welker was observed by Jeff Ford, electrical mechanical repairman and Don Schuete, control room attendent, leaving the clinker cooler area with the container.

Robert Brown, another general truck driver, saw her from his truck as she arrived at the dump and prepared to unload the dusts from the container.  Brown was leaving the dump for the plant to pick up another load of material.  When he returned to the dump with the next load, he observed that Welker's truck was still parked at the location he had observed earlier.  Upon checking, Brown found Welker pinned in the rear left corner of the dumpster.  The time was 7:45 a.m., Brown could see that Welker was badly injured and he could not get any response, so he drove back to the plant and notified Joe Cundell, relief foreman and Burl Medlock, yard foreman.

At approximately 8 a.m., Cundell, Medlock and Doug Richards arrived at the accident site.  The dumpster was parked facing north with the motor running.  Welker was pinned in a kneeling position by the left rear corner of the dumpster.  Richards checked for a pulse but there was none.

The Cape County Ambulance Service was contacted along with the Cape Girardeau Police Department and the Cape County Coroner Harold Cobb.  At 8:35 a.m., the coroner pronounced Welker dead at the site.

Cause of Accident

The primary cause of the accident was that the victim stood beneath the upper section of the open dumpster container while it was hanging by the bail of the dumping hook contrary to company rules and training received, with the result that she was crushed by the closing action when the bail left the hook and the container fell.

A likely contributing cause of this accident was the worn and/or broken dumping-hook tip, which may have permitted the container box-bail to first be held on the shortened, flat tip and then become released as the victim moved the container in some fashion while apparently attempting to clean it.

Another contributing cause of the accident may have been movement of the truck with the container suspended by the dumping hook, which was contrary to company rules and training received.  This action by the victim may have been the event that permitted the bail to become unstably suspended on the flattened tip of the defective dumping hook.

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