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Utah Mine Cited For Deadly Negligence

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 8:59am
Lynn DeBruin, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal report released Tuesday found management was negligent in a fatal Feb. 24 accident in which a man was trapped on a conveyer belt at a quartzite mine near Salt Lake City.

Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, said a fine will be levied against Bolinder Resources LLC, since the investigation concluded management "engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence."

The company operates a crushing and sampling facility on Stansbury Island at the Great Salt Lake.

Allen K. Sherman, 56, of Delta, died of blunt force trauma after attempting to clean a magnet on the conveyer belt.

Sherman's sister, Gaynell Deem, said the man's wife received a settlement from the company but plans a lawsuit.

"He lost his life," Deem said. "I don't think any amount of money is consolation for losing his life. No amount of money is going to bring him back. But it also was a very tragic accident. My brother had worked with crushers ... his whole life. He did know what he was doing."

A telephone number listed for Sherman's home rang unanswered Tuesday. The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Mine safety investigators said management failed to ensure safe operating procedures were followed while an employee was working on the conveyor belt. They also said warning horns indicating the equipment was being powered back up couldn't be heard above the plant noise.

The company has since made changes to prevent such accidents, including the addition of two more warning horns.

The Bolinder operation received 23 citations following inspections immediately after the fatal accident, according to federal records. The mine has been fined more than $18,000 for violations since 2008.

 

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