The Kensington mine accident that killed Juneau resident Joe Tagaban last week is the eighth U.S. mining fatality in 2011, according to the Mining Safety and Health Administration. It was also the first explosives fatality for the year.
An updated report from MSHA indicates Tagaban was waiting on a ramp for the blast to be initiated. And when it was, small rock and debris traveled through a 3-inch diameter diamond borehole, striking him.
The regulatory agency says the hole should have been mapped and plugged.
The report lists several best practices for using underground explosives; that includes evacuating all persons from the designated blasting site.
MSHA is asking for other suggestions to prevent such an accident.
The underground section of the Kensington mine where the accident occurred was closed for a week during the initial investigation.
While the mine is back in full operation, no blasting can be conducted in production areas underground until MSHA says it’s safe.
The company is working with the agency to finalize blasting protocols in production stopes. Blasting activities related to mine development are continuing.
According to MSHA, there were 14 U.S. metal and non-metal mining fatalities reported in 2010.
Click here for the MSHA “Fatalgram.”