MHSA Cites Signal Peak Mine for Worker’s Death

By Beacon Staff

ROUNDUP – The Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued two citations stemming from a fatality in January at the Signal Peak Mine south of Roundup.

The MSHA report released Wednesday details the Jan. 2 death of 57-year-old mechanic Rudolph Lindstrom, of Terry, who was killed when the truck he was working on fell off a jack and struck him in the head.

The report says Lindstrom, who was lying on the shop floor as he worked under a 1-ton truck, asked an assistant to start the vehicle in an effort to remove the power steering fluid from the system. When the assistant’s foot slipped off the clutch, the truck lurched forward and off the supporting jack stands.

The MSHA says the vehicle was not blocked to prevent it from moving, and the rubber, anti-slip cover for the clutch pedal was missing at the time of the accident.

Signal Peak has since required the use of blocks, parking brakes and transmission locks “where applicable” and does not allow work to be performed on equipment while the engine is running, unless all drive wheels are off the ground.

The company also bought an 18,000-pound lift to raise equipment when staff are working underneath. To address the missing anti-slip pad, equipment operators were trained to check for such safety defects during inspections.

Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the MSHA, said Signal Peak would probably be fined for the violations, but the amount has not yet been determined.

Neither John DeMichiei, Signal Peak’s president, nor Tom Rice, the company’s safety director, were available for comment Wednesday.

Lindstrom was the first of 37 coal mine fatalities in the United States so far this year.