DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Accident Investigation Report
(Underground Coal Mine)
Fatal Fall of Roof Accident
Justice Mine #1 (I.D. No. 46-07273)
Independence Coal Co., Inc.
Uneeda, Boone County, West Virginia
October 30, 2000
Jerry E. Sumpter
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Jon A. Braenovich
William L. Sperry
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector (Electrical)
William R. Williams
Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center (Roof Control)
Paul L. Tyrna
Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center (Roof Control)
Originating Office-Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mount Hope, West Virginia 25880
Edwin P. Brady, District Manager
Release Date: March 20, 2001
On Monday, October 30, 2000, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Ricky Dale Vance, shuttle-car operator, was assisting the moving of a scoop battery-charging station located on the 6 Rt., No. 5 Headgate, 003-0 MMU section at crosscut No. 17 between the No. 2 and 3 entries. A piece of rock fell from between roof bolts in the crosscut, striking the victim. The rock, measuring 89 inches long by 45-to-54 inches in width by 1 inch-to-4 inches thick, broke into two pieces when striking the victim. The area was not bolted according to the approved roof control plan. First-aid was performed on the victim at the scene and he was transported to the surface by mine personnel. Paramedics for the Boone County Ambulance Authority transported the victim to Boone Memorial Hospital where he was treated and subsequently died at 11:12 a.m.
The Justice Mine # 1, Independence Coal Company, Inc., a subsidiary of A. T. Massey Coal Company, is located near Uneeda, Boone County, West Virginia. On June 29, 1998, Independence Coal Company, Inc., started mining in the Powellton coalbed. The Powellton coalbed, which averages 32 inches-to-52 inches in thickness, is penetrated by a total of three drift openings and three shafts. The mine is ventilated by one blowing and one exhausting fan. The main fan is an 8-foot Joy Axivane Fan, operated on the blowing ventilation system. This fan provides ventilation throughout the mine and the north mains continuous-mining section and the No. 5 Right Headgate longwall section. This fan produces 452,000 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm) blowing. The Lick Branch Bleeder Fan operated exhausting, provides ventilation for the bleeder system and gob areas of the longwall panel, producing 98,000 cfm. The mine has one elevator shaft.
Coal is produced on one developing continuous-mining section and one longwall section. Coal is transported from the developing sections working faces to the section dumping points via Joy 10SC shuttle cars and by chain conveyor to the mine belt system on the longwall section. Joy 12CM-12 remote-controlled continuous-mining machines are utilized on the advancing sections, and a Joy 4LS, Model 04L509-U46SLK, double-headed ranging drum-type shearer removes coal from the 1000-foot retreating longwall face. A series of belt conveyor flights transport the coal from the working sections to the surface. The mine produces approximately 30,000 tons of raw coal daily.
The mine employs one hundred twenty-seven persons on 3 nine-hour overlapping-shifts per day, 7 days per week. Coal is produced on the day and evening shifts and maintenance is performed on the midnight shift. The inside mine personnel enter the mine at the elevator. All crews are transported to their respective working sections via track-mounted, battery-powered personnel carriers.
The immediate mine roof consists of gray shale and sandstone with intermittent siltstone and carbonaceous shale deposits. The approved roof-control plan specifies roof bolts be installed on a 4-foot lengthwise and 4 to 5 feet crosswise spacing.
This mine is on a 5-day methane spot inspection. This mine liberates 2,780,569 cfm of methane in a 24-hour period.
A Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Inspection (AAA) was ongoing at the time of the accident. The previous Safety and Health Inspection was completed on September 28, 2000.
Principal officers of Independence Coal Company, Inc., at the time of the accident were: Mark Clemens, President; Richard Hinderson, Vice President; Roger Nicholson, Secretary; Jeff Jaronsinski, Treasurer; Carlos Porter, General Manager; Brien Cabell, Superintendent; Bob Acord, Mine Foreman; Raymond Coleman, Safety Director; Chris Adkins, Mine President; and Barry Hale, Mine Vice President.
The Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incident rate during the previous quarter was 8.05 for underground mines nationwide and 8.35 for this mine.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT
On Monday, October 30, 2000, the day-shift crew, under the supervision of Bill Burgett, entered the mine at 6:30 a.m., and traveled to the 6 Rt., No. 5 Headgate, 003-0 MMU section. Normal activities, including routine preparation for production, were conducted. Normal production activities commenced without incident until 8:00 a.m. Burgett instructed James Ingram, scoop operator, and Ricky D. Vance, shuttle-car operator, to move the scoop-battery charger, located at the No. 17 crosscut between the No. 2 entry and the No. 3 entry. Ingram, operating the scoop, pulled the battery charger away from the permanent ventilation stopping and free from a pallet of omega blocks. During preparation to load and transport the battery charger, Vance was located in close proximity of the right front tire and bucket of the scoop. According to Ingram, at approximately 8:30 a.m., the top made a noise and simultaneously roof rock fell, striking Vance on the head and shoulder. The rock, approximately 89 inches long by 45-to-54 inches in width by 1 inch-to-4 inches thick, was broken into two pieces, trapping Vance on his knees on the mine floor, face down. Unable to move the rock, Ingram immediately summoned help. The rock was removed by Denny Kessler, section electrician, and Ingram. When Vance was repositioned it appeared he started breathing normally.
Reed Donahue, continuous-miner operator and the Emergency Medical Technician on the section, arrived shortly after the accident and assessed the condition of Vance. During testimony, Donahue stated that he determined Vance's condition to be life-threatening. With the assistance of other crew members, Vance was placed on a stretcher and transported to the surface via battery-powered mantrip. On the surface, paramedics for the Boone County Ambulance Authority treated Vance and transported him to the Boone County Hospital. Dr. Lopez treated Mr. Vance, and he subsequently died at 11:12 a.m.. The victim was then transported to the state corner's office in Charleston, West Virginia, where an autopsy was performed by Dr. Shores, State Medical Examiner. The cause of death was determined to be multiple traumatic injuries.
INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT
Jackson Nunnery, CMI was at the mine to conduct respirable dust samples on this section. The mantrip Nunnery was riding, was held up to bring the accident victim to the surface. At this time Nunnery asked if the condition was "life threatening" and management indicated it was not.
The MSHA Madison Field Office was notified at 12:10 p.m., on October 30, 2000, that a fatal accident had occurred, and additional MSHA personnel arrived at the mine at approximately 5:00 p.m. A 103(k) order was issued to ensure the safety of the miners until the accident investigation could be completed.
MSHA and the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training(WVMHST) jointly conducted an investigation with the assistance of the operator and their employees.
All parties were briefed by the mine operator regarding the circumstances surrounding the accident. A discussion was held with everyone available who had knowledge of the accident. Representatives of MSHA, WVMHST, and the operator traveled to the underground accident scene to secure the area, make preliminary findings, and make a thorough investigation. Photographs, video recording, and relevant measurements were taken. A survey was conducted and sketches were made of the accident site. Interviews of individuals known to have knowledge of the facts surrounding the accident were conducted at the MSHA Madison Field Office conference room on October 31, 2000, and November 1, 2000.
When Nunnery arrived on the section, he went to the accident area and observed the wide spacing of bolts, and informed the operator of a violation. The operator ask if they could correct the condition, and Nunnery ask if the injuries were life threatening, and the operator indicated they were not. Nunnery allowed the operator to add the bolts. A spot inspection from the accident scene to the faces was conducted by other MSHA personnel. Additional, violations of the roof control plan bolt spacing and entry widths were documented.
The physical portion of the investigation was completed on October 30, 2000. The 103(k) order was terminated on November 1, 2000.
Training - Records indicated that all required training had been conducted in accordance with Part 48, Title 30 CFR.
Examination - Records indicated that the required examinations were being conducted; however, these examinations were deficient in detecting hazardous roof conditions where miners were required to work and travel.
Roof Control - The roof-control plan in effect at the time of the accident was approved on October 18, 2000, and allows the following types of roof bolts to be used at this mine: Six-foot torque- tension roof bolts and eight-foot cable bolts and the minimum roof bolting pattern will be on 4 feet lengthwise and 4 to 5 feet crosswise spacing.
The mine roof in the area where the accident occurred, as well as other areas on the section, was supported with 6-foot torque tension and 8-foot cable bolts.
The roof was not adequately supported on the #5 headgate, 003-0 mmu, due to the excessive spacing of roof bolts inby Survey Station No. 40 at the crosscut between No. 2 and 3 entries. When measured, the lengthwise spacing of the installed roof bolts ranged in excess of 48 inches to as much as 64 inches in multiple locations. Eleven roof bolts were in excess of 54 inches.
The Justice #1 Mine operates in the Powellton coalbed. According to the roof-control plan, overburden on the mine site varies from 200 foot-to-1200 foot and the coal seam thickness ranges from 38-to-52 inches. The coal seam is immediately overlain by approximately 3 feet of medium bedded gray mudstones, shales and sandy shales which are extracted along with the coal seam. The Coalburg and Stockton coal seams are 575 and 680 feet above the Powellton seam, respectively. Any old works in these seams appear to be at least 300-to-400 feet away horizontally.
The accident occurred on the 6 Rt., No. 5 Headgate, 003-0 MMU section. The section was developing three entries with crosscuts on120 feet by 105 feet and 90 feet by 105 feet centers and width 18 feet-to-20 feet wide in accordance with the approved roof-control plan. The fatal roof fall was in the #17 crosscut between the #2 and #3 entries. At the time of the accident, the active faces were at #22 crosscut. The location of the fall within the #17 crosscut was approximately 17 feet from the left ribline of #3 entry and 5 feet from the crosscut ribline. At the time of the physical examination of the scene, the fallen rock debris had been cleaned up and 5 supplemental bolts had been installed in the cavity created by the fall. The supplemental bolt heads had been spray painted for identification purposes.
Six foot long torque-tension roof bolts and eight foot long cable bolts with 8 inch by 8 inch bearing plates were installed as primary support. The approved roof-control plan specifies that bolts are to be installed on a pattern of 4 feet-to-5 feet between bolts and 4 feet between rows. Roof bolts were installed on spacings of greater than allowed by the approved roof control plan. Thirty five bolts were in excess of 48 inches and eleven bolts were in excess of 54 inches.
A pre-shift examination of the 6 Rt., No. 5 Headgate, 003-0 MMU section was made between 05:00 a.m., and 05:30 a.m., on the day of the accident.
The crew had mined one cut from the No. 2 heading, 2-to-1 crosscut, and was in the process of moving the miner to the next working place, when the accident occurred. A Joy 12CM-12 remote-control continuous-mining machine was utilized.
The slab which struck the victim was composed of sandy gray shale with siderite nodules, weak to fragile, broken into two pieces measuring 42 inches long by 45 inches wide by 1-1/4 inches thick and 47 inches long by 54 inches wide by 1 inch-to-4 inches thick.
The fall occurred between the two lines of bolts closest to (and parallel to) the inby rib of the crosscut. The long axis of the fallen slab was parallel to a roof cutter that migrated along the inby rib of the crosscut. Based upon the description of the fallen slab pieces, the visible roof cavity and cutter, it did not appear that the slab had broken consistent with the orientation of the roof cutter. The cutter was traceable from the #1 entry to the #3 entry. While it generally was within a few feet of the rib, it migrated up to 5 feet away at the point of the fall. Although the cutter ran parallel to the ribs in the crosscuts, it arced eastward in the #3 entry and westward in the #1 entry, suggesting an overall NW-SE orientation.
Traces of similarly oriented cutters were observed in crosscuts 18, 19, and 20. In all cases, the cutters appeared to be confined to the 4-to-8 inches of brittle sandy shale in the immediate roof. This was evident upon observing areas where additional height had been taken and it could be seen that the cutters did not extend into the upper strata. The operator had not placed additional support or mesh across the cutters observed in other crosscuts.
At the accident site, the entry height was 83 inches. Approximately 38 inches of roof rock was being mined at this location, along with the 45-inch Powellton coalbed seam. Overburden is estimated to be 750 feet at the accident site. The width of the crosscut varied from 17 feet 7 inches to 20 feet.
No significant pillar deterioration was noted at the accident site.
The accident and resultant fatality occurred because management failed to comply with the approved roof-control plan. The area where the accident occurred was inadequately supported. The approved roof-control plan specifies that bolts are to be installed on a pattern of 4 feet-to-5 feet crosswise spacing and 4 feet lengthwise spacing. Thirty Five roof bolts were installed in excess of the maximum 4 feet between lengthwise rows and eleven roof bolts exceed 54 inches, allowed by the approved roof-control plan. This condition contributed to roof material striking the victim and resulting in fatal injuries to Ricky D. Vance.
1. A 103(k) Order No. 7191710 was issued to ensure the safety of all persons in the mine until an investigation was completed and all areas and equipment were deemed safe.
2. A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7190106 was issued citing 30 CFR 75.360(b)(1)
During a fatal roof fall accident investigation, it was revealed that an adequate preshift examination was not conducted on the No. 5 headgate 003-0 section. The roof inby Survey Station No. 40 at 17 crosscut between No. 3 and No. 2 entries had lengthwise spacing of the installed bolts when measured exceeding the allowable 48 inches and ranged up to 64 inches. Thirty-five of the lengthwise spaced bolts exceeded the 48 inches allowed by the approved roof control plan. Also, at crosscut 18 between No. 2 and 3 entries, roof bolt spacing over the forklift charger station measured from 63 to 67 inches crosswise for a distance of 12 feet. These conditions were obvious. A preshift examination had been conducted by mine management on October 28, 2000, between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m.
3. A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7190107 was issued citing 30 CFR 75.362
During a fatal roof fall accident investigation, it was revealed that an inadequate onshift examination was conducted on the No. 5 headgate 003-0 MMU working section. The onshift examination conducted by management failed to reveal existing hazardous conditions where miners were required to work or travel. At the No. 17 crosscut between the No. 2 and 3 entries, thirty-five of the lengthwise spaced roof bolts exceeded the 48 inches allowed by the approved roof control plan. Other hazardous areas discovered during another inspection were as follows: At crosscut 18 between No. 2 and 3 entries, roof bolt spacing over the forklift charger station measured from 63 to 67 inches crosswise for a distance of 12 feet, inby Survey Station No. 50, in the No. 3 entry, widths measured from 21 to 24 feet for a distance of 115 feet, and in the No. 2 entry at the 20 crosscut, the turn-in measured to be in excess of 28 feet.
4. A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7190110 was issued citing 30 CFR 75.220(a)(1)
The roof of areas where persons are required to work or travel was not supported or otherwise controlled to protect persons from hazards related from falls of the roof. The roof inby Survey Station No. 40 at 17 crosscut between No. 3 and 2 entries on the No. 5 headgate section was not adequately supported in that the lengthwise spacing of installed bolts, when measured, exceeded the allowable 48 inches and ranged up to 64 inches. Thirty-five of the lengthwise spaced roof bolts exceeded the 48 inches allowed by the approved roof control plan. Other areas discovered to be inadequately supported on this section during another inspection were as follows: At crosscut 18 between No. 2 and 3 entries, roof bolt spacing over the forklift charger station measured from 63 to 67 inches crosswise for a distance of 12 feet inby Survey Station No. 50, No. 3 entry, the entry widths measured from 21 to 24 feet for a distance of 115 feet, and in the No. 2 entry beginning at the No. 6 crosscut and extending through the No. 20 crosscut the turn-ins were measured to be in excess of 28 feet.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Listed below are the persons furnishing information and/or present during the investigation:
Independence Coal Co., Inc., Officials
Mark Clements ............... PresidentIndependence Coal Co., Inc., Employees
Brien Cabell* ............... Superintendent/Mine Foreman
Bill Burgett* ............... Section Foreman
Brien Keaton ............... Safety and Health Technician
Roger Spencer ............... Belt Foreman
Mark Heath ............... Attorney-at-Law, Heenan, Althen & Roles
James Ingram* ............... Scoop OperatorWest Virginia Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training
Reed Donahue* ............... Continuous-Miner Operator/EMT
Lindsey Whited* ............... Intake Roof-Bolter Operator
Denny Kessler* ............... Electrician
Denver Gunnoe ............... District Inspector/Roof ControlMine Safety and Health Administration
Kerry Herron ............... District Inspector
Mike Rutledge ............... Safety Coordinator
Terry Farley ............... Office of the Director
Jerry E. Sumpter ............... Coal Mine Safety and Health InspectorPittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center
Jon A. Braenovich ............... Mining Engineer
William L. Sperry ............... Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector (Electrical)
Andrew J. Nunnery ............... Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Sharon A. Cook ............... Mine Safety and Health Specialist
William R. Williams ............... Mining Engineer*Persons Interviewed
Paul L. Tyrna ............... Geologist