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Lucky Friday Mine death blamed on safety lapse

Thu., July 19, 2012, 9:25 a.m.

Underground worker wore wrong safety harness

An underground worker who was fatally injured in a Nov. 17 accident at the Lucky Friday Mine was wearing an inadequate safety harness, a federal report says.

Brandon Gray, 26, was attempting to unplug a rock bin when the material below him started moving. He was engulfed in the rock and died of his injuries two days later. He was employed by Cementation USA, a Utah-based contractor at the Lucky Friday.

The managers failed to provide workers with the proper safety training and equipment, according to a report by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The harnesses’ self-retracting lifelines were designed for an unobstructed fall. When the material Gray was standing on shifted, he wasn’t moving fast enough to cause the lifelines to lock before he was pulled into the rock.

Neither Gray nor another worker who survived had received safety training before being assigned to work in the bin, the report said.

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