Report: Enon company made workplace changes following fatal accident

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Investigations into a fatal workplace accident in Enon stated that management did not have safe procedures in place to clear blockages in a hopper located at the worksite.

Rodger A. Zimmerman, 56, was killed after getting trapped in a hopper at Enon Sand and Gravel on May 2. He had climbed into it in order to dislodge a blockage that had occurred.

However, Zimmerman was engulfed in material and was trapped inside. He was later pronounced dead at the scene after his body was recovered.

As a result of an investigation into the accident, Enon Sand and Gravel permanently removed the hopper and belt conveyor from service and developed and implemented written procedures for safe entry, according to the United States Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

The company also acquired a portable crusher and placed it into service. Those who operate that equipment were trained in the written procedures associated with it, according to MSHA.

Enon Sand and Gravel could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

A report from (MSHA) stated that the accident occurred because the “mine operator” did not establish safe procedures in regards to clearing blockages in the hopper or provide access to areas from which the blockages could be cleared safely.

An overview of the incident added that the worksite did not provide mechanical devices or other effective means to prevent or safely clear blockages as well as ensure the discharge belt conveyor was locked out prior to efforts to clear blockages.

It also found a failure to train all employees on safe procedures for entry into bin, hoppers, tanks or other similar areas.

The report stated that Zimmerman entered the bottom of the hopper when “loose unconsolidated material, which ultimately engulfed him, was present inside the hopper.”

“Video evidence from the mine’s surveillance system verified entry into the hopper to dislodge blockage from underneath was a common practice and occurred repeatedly during the several days captured on the video,” the investigation report said.

MSHA conducted the investigation in cooperation with management at Enon Sand and Gravel as well as with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources, which also released its report.

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