Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Gravel quarry cited for slide that trapped miners

~Signpost Staff

Federal investigators have issued four citations to the Vulcan Materials Placitas Pit after the collapse of a gravel pile injured four workers and prompted a six-hour rescue operation.

While details of the citations are not yet available, the sections of federal law applicable to each appear on the website of the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Two of the workers were trying to unplug a conveyor grate below a stockpile of loose gravel when a slide buried them, one up to his neck, the other to his chest.

Two other men became trapped when they came to the aid of the first pair. One man suffered a broken leg while the other incurred less serious injuries.

The alleged violations involve:

  • Allowing people without safety harnesses and lifelines to work under the stockpile
  • Failing to notify MSHA within 15 minutes of an accidents where lives are at risk
  • Failing to trim the stockpile to prevent hazards
  • Failing to protect machinery so people can't come in contact with moving parts.

The MSHA website does not list proposed penalties but does show all the conditions, except notifying the agency of the accident, were corrected. A routine inspection of the property the previous day also resulted in citations for alleged safety violations that were corrected.

Wood Chipper Day returns

The Coronado Soil and Water Conservation District will sponsor a Chipper Day at the Placitas Community Library on September 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., to assist landowners in removing fuels from around homes to lessen wildfire danger. Bring branches and small trees—no more than six inches diameter, ends aligned and facing the same way, with no construction waste or barbed wire. A donation of $10 for regular loads and $15 for large trailers is suggested. Money collected will be used for future Chipper Days. Wood chips can be taken home for mulch, with remaining chips available for residents for a few days until they’re gone.
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