Mine contractor fined in deaths

Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2008

FAIRBANKS - A federal agency fined a contractor Thursday in a deadly accident last year at Rock Creek Mine in Nome.

Contract ironworkers Tyler Kahle, 19, of Tomahawk, Wis., and Craig Bagley, 27, of Anchorage died in July 2007 when a manlift they were operating fell on its side.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration on Thursday fined Alaska Mechanical Inc. $115,000 for inadequate training and unsafe equipment use.

The federal investigation found the manlift hadn't been set on solid ground and that the hydraulic cylinder for the lift wasn't designed for load-bearing support while the boom is in operation. Investigators also said the manlift operator wasn't properly trained.

The victims were bolting a metal roof to the mill building. As their shift ended, they were preparing to ride the lift to the ground when it became unsteady. The lift basket hit the side of the mill, toppling a boom. Both men were tied off to the basket.

Management policies and procedures fell short of the company's responsibility to train employees before they are assigned to operate equipment, Acting assistant secretary of labor Richard Stickler said.

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