DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Accident Investigation Report
(Underground Coal Mine)
Fatal Fall of Roof Accident
Island Fork Construction, Ltd. (PUL)
Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia
Rader Run Mine No. 2 (I.D. No. 46-08814)
Midland Trail Resources, LLC
Rupert, Greenbrier County, West Virginia
February 20, 2002
Bobby G. Moreland
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector
Jon A. Braenovich
William R. Williams
Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center
Mining Engineer - Roof Control Division
Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center
Mining Engineer - Roof Control Division
Originating Office-Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mount Hope, West Virginia 25880
Edwin P. Brady, District Manager
Release Date: September 4, 2002
On Wednesday, February 20, 2002, at approximately 2:30 p.m., a 53-year old roof bolting-machine operator with 24 years mining experience was fatally injured when he was struck by rock from an unintentional roof fall. The victim, a contract employee of Island Fork Construction, was helping the continuous mining-machine operator tram the continuous mining machine into the outby intersection after completing the last lift of the right pillar block located in the No. 4 entry of the 002-0 MMU. The 47-year old continuous mining-machine operator with 23-years mining experience, also a contract employee of Island Fork Construction, sustained serious non-fatal injuries. The two miners were struck by rock from a roof fall that measured approximately 30 feet long, 30 feet wide and 2 feet to 10 feet thick. The roof fall, which covered the continuous mining-machine, partially covered the uni-hauler located behind the continuous mining machine, and the two miners, fell with little or no warning.
The victim was removed from the mine about 5:30 p.m. and transported by Quinwood Ambulance Service to the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center located in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia where he was pronounced dead by the medical staff. About 7:00 p.m., the injured continuous mining-machine operator was rescued and taken to the surface. He was also transported to the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center by Quinwood Ambulance Service and later to the Charleston Area Medical Center, General Division in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia.
The Rader Run Mine No. 2, Midland Trail Resources, LLC, a subsidiary of Resource Fuels, LLC, is located near Rupert, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. On October 18, 2000, Midland Trail Resources, LLC, began mining in the Pocahontas #6 coalbed. The Pocahontas #6 coalbed, averaged 43 inches in thickness, and was penetrated by five drift openings at this location. The mine was ventilated with a 6 foot Joy fan using a blowing ventilation system. This fan produced 90,000 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm).
The mine was developed using a room and pillar mining system. Coal was extracted from one retreat mining section using a Joy 14-10 AA, remote control, continuous mining machine. Coal was transported from the retreating pillar line to the section dumping point via Simmons Rand 810 uni-haulers, then onto a belt system which took it to the surface. The mine produced approximately 2,000 tons of raw coal daily. Projections showed mining at this location was to be completed in approximately three months. The mine was placed in abandoned/sealed status on June 27, 2002.
The mine employed 36 persons. Two Midland Trail officials and 34 Island Fork Construction contract miners, worked three 9-hour overlapping shifts per day, six days per week. Coal was produced on the day and evening shifts and maintenance was performed on the midnight shift. The underground crews entered the mine through drift openings and were transported to the working section via rubber tired, battery powered personnel carriers.
The immediate mine roof consisted of gray laminated sandy shale. The approved roof control plan specified installation of roof bolts at a minimum of 4-feet lengthwise and 4 feet to 5 feet crosswise spacing.
This mine liberated zero cfm of methane in a 24-hour period. The last Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Inspection (AAA) was completed on February 20, 2002.
Principal officers of Midland Trail Resources, LLC, at the time of the accident were:
Anthony Taylor General ManagerPrincipal officers of Island Fork Construction, LTD.
Jeff James Superintendent/Mine Foreman
Donald Drabant Vice President
Myron Sovell Secretary
*John McNab President
Allen Orndorff Safety Inspector
Amon L. Mahon PresidentThe Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incidence rate during the previous quarter was 7.29 for underground coal mines nationwide and 31.10 for this mine.
Roger Ball, Sr. Safety Director
Tammy L. Davis Office Manager
The 2001 Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incidence rate for contractors at underground coal mines nationwide was 3.63 and 24.14 for Island Fork Construction. This is the 2nd fatal coal mine accident involving an Island Fork Construction employee in 2002.
*Listed on Legal Identity, not employed by company at time of accident.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT
On February 20, 2002, at approximately 6:00 a.m., the day shift crew, under the direct supervision of Gary Frame, section foreman, entered the mine via self propelled, rubber tired personnel carriers. Coal production started in the No. 2 entry at approximately 6:30 a.m. and continued until approximately 9:00 a.m. when the continuous mining-machine was down for repairs. Mining finished in the No. 2 entry at approximately 11:00 a. m., and the continuous mining-machine was moved to the No. 4 entry where Larry Williams, continuous mining machine operator, started mining the left pillar block. Arnold Bostic and Gary Martin (victim) were working as timber men. Houston Trout, Mike Carr and Anthony Frame were operating uni-haulers.
Mining continued in the No. 4 entry until approximately 2:30 p.m.. Williams completed mining the fourth lift out of the right pillar and backed the continuous mining machine into the outby intersection. Trout stated that he positioned the uni-hauler under the continuous mining-machine boom to be loaded. Frame stated that he was located to the right of the continuous mining machine in the No. 4 and No. 5 crosscut. According to Trout and Bostic, the roof fell with little or no warning.
The roof fall covered the intersection, the continuous mining-machine, partially covered the uni-hauler and extended into the right crosscut toward the No. 5 entry. Bostic who was standing beside Trout and the uni-hauler when the roof fell, escaped the fall by running down the No. 4 entry where he met Frame, one crosscut outby the fall area. Houston Trout, still in the operators deck, was protected by the uni-hauler canopy. He escaped through a narrow opening in the rock that covered the canopy.
Martin (victim) and Williams were both covered by the fallen material. Rescuers talked to the trapped Williams but there was no response from Martin. Anthony Frame ran to the mine phone to call the surface for help. Jeff James, Superintendent/Mine Foreman, took the call and started underground immediately.
Under the supervision of section foreman Lawrence Loudermilk, the evening shift crew entered the mine at their normal 2:30 p.m. starting time, unaware of the accident. When they arrived at the section, Houston Trout informed them that Williams and Martin were trapped under the fall. The evening shift crew, consisting of James Grose, Dwane Hellems, Arnold Shortridge, Dennis Taylor, Donnie Horne, William Feamster, Brian Redden and Clifford Trout immediately went to the accident site to assist in the rescue work.
James and Billy Selman, electrician, arrived on the section at approximately 2:50 p.m. Anthony Taylor, general manager, Eugene Wickline, and Raymond Thomas, electricians, accompanied by two Quinwood Ambulance Service Paramedics and one EMT, started underground at approximately 4:20 p.m.
The rescue effort involved moving large amounts of fallen rock by hand. Unsure of the trapped miners exact location, crews worked from both the No. 4 entry and the crosscut connecting No. 4 and No. 5 entries. Communication with Williams continued throughout the rescue work but there was no response from Martin (victim) at any time. At approximately 5:00 p.m. rescuers, working in the No. 4 entry, found Martin in the intersection on the right side of the uni-hauler. A primary assessment of Martin by Quinwood Ambulance Service personnel showed no vital signs. Martin was transported to the surface around 5:30 p.m. and transported by Quinwood Ambulance Service to the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center located in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia where he was pronounced dead by the medical staff.
Additional rock was removed as the effort to reach Williams continued. Around 6:45 p.m., rock was removed from Larry Williams, who was found in the intersection several feet inby where Martin had been located. Williams was removed from the mine at approximately 7:00 p.m. and transported by Quinwood Ambulance Service to the Greenbrier Valley Medical Center and later to the Charleston Area Medical Center, General Division located in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia.
INVESTIGATION OF ACCIDENT
MSHA was notified at 3:05 p.m., on February 20, 2002, that a serious accident had occurred. MSHA accident investigators were dispatched to the mine. A 103 (k) order was issued to insure the safety of the miners until the accident investigation could be completed. The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training (WVOMHST), with the assistance of the operator and their employees. Persons who participated, were interviewed, and/or present during the investigation are listed in Appendix A of this report. Representatives of MSHA, the WVOMHST, and company officials traveled underground to conduct an investigation of physical conditions at the accident site. Photographs, video recordings and relevant measurements were taken. Sketches and a survey were also conducted at the site.
The physical portion of the investigation was completed on February 26, 2002. Interviews with persons who had knowledge of the accident were conducted on February 22 and 25, 2002 at the Midland Trail Resources, LLC, main office and on February 26, 2002 at the WVOMHST office located at Oak Hill, West Virginia. The investigation also included a review of training records and records of required examinations.
A review of training records indicates that training had been conducted in accordance with the 30 CFR, Part 48.
A review of records and observation of physical evidence indicates that the required preshift, 75.360(a)(1) and onshift, 75.362 (a)(1) examinations were not adequate in that numerous hazardous conditions existed on the 002-0 section and were not reported or recorded.
1. The Rader Run Mine No. 2 operates in the Pocahontas No. 6 coalbed. According to the approved roof control plan, overburden on the mine site varies from 250 feet to 500 feet and the coal seam thickness ranges from 36 to 52 inches. According to the approved roof control plan there are no coalbed (s) above or below the present mining operation.
2. The accident occurred while retreat mining was being conducted on the 002-0 MMU section. The section had been developed by 6 entries with 70 feet crosscut centers and 50 feet entry centers.
3. The fatal roof fall was in the intersection of the No. 4 entry one crosscut in by survey station No. 1003. The roof fall measured approximately 30 feet long, 30 feet wide and 2 to 10 feet thick. The fallen rock covered the intersection, the Joy 14-10 AA-remote control continuous mining machine, partially covered the No. 5 Simmons Rand uni-hauler, and extended into the right crosscut between the No. 4 and No. 5 entries.
4. During development of this area forty eight inch torque-tension bolts with 8 inch by 8 inch bearing plates were installed as primary roof support.
5. A preshift examination of the 002-0 MMU section was made between 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. by the third shift mine examiner and between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. by the day shift mine examiner on the day of the accident.
6. The crew had mined both left and right in the No. 4 entry pillar blocks and were in the process of moving the continuous mining machine into the outby intersection, when the accident occurred. A Joy 14-10 AA remote-control continuous mining-machine was being used.
7. The mine roof at the accident scene was composed of sandy gray shale, medium to high angled slickensided slip formations, highly glossed, broken and stacked in various size layers. Similar roof conditions were present at various locations on the 002-0 MMU section.
8. Entry height was 61 inches at the accident scene. Approximately 45 inches of coal had been mined at this location. Overburden is estimated to be 250 feet to 500 feet at the accident scene. The width of the No. 4 entry measured from 15 feet to 21 feet 6 inches.
9. The foremen, examiners, equipment operators and laborers were contracted employees of Island Fork Construction, LTD, Contractor I.D. No. PUL.
10. The method of pillar extraction being used at the time of the accident was not approved in the operators approved roof control plan. Physical evidence showed that mining cuts (lifts) had been taken from the bottom (outby ends) of the pillar blocks at the accident scene. Intersection stability was reduced when mining was started near the outby corner of each pillar. This condition, in combination with multiple slickensided surfaces above the bolt anchorage in an abutment stress condition, were the likely cause of the roof failure.
11. The continuous mining machine and uni-hauler were not recovered from the fall area.
ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
A root cause analysis was performed on the accident. The following root causes were identified:
1. Causal factor - Unsafe pillar recovery methods were being used.
Root cause - Mine management condoned unsafe work practices and failed to insist that miners under their direct supervision adhered to provisions of 30 CFR. Management demonstrated a reckless disregard of the dangers posed by conditions created when faulty pillar recovery methods were used. Management displayed an unwillingness to comply with written procedures contained in the approved roof control plan and failed to provide adequate instructions or supervision in regard to those procedures.
2. Causal factor - Adequate workplace examinations were not conducted.
Root cause - Agents of the Operator demonstrated a reckless disregard of the dangerous conditions created by the use of faulty pillar recovery methods. Mandatory workplace examinations conducted by these personnel failed to detect and report obvious hazardous conditions that adversely affected the safety of the miners.
It is the consensus of the investigation team that the direct causes of the fatal accident include; provisions of the approved roof control plan were not being followed, unsafe pillar recovery methods were being used, and adequate workplace examinations were not conducted prior to mining in the No. 4 entry. The root cause of the accident was mine management's condoning of these practices and failure to insist that miners under their supervision adhere to the provisions of 30 CFR and the mine's approved plans. Mine managements failure to insure that safe mining practices were used in the extraction of coal on February 20, 2002 resulted in the death of Gary Martin and serious injuries to Larry Williams.
A 103(k) Order No. 7212643 was issued to Midland Trail Resources, LLC, to ensure the safety of all persons in the mine until an investigation was completed and all areas and equipment were deemed safe.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No.7205650 was issued to Midland Trail Resources, LLC, for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.220 (a)(1) stating in part that the operator failed to comply with provisions of the approved roof control plan.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No.7205651 was issued to Midland Trail Resources, LLC, for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.360 (a)(1) stating in part that adequate preshift examinations were not being conducted for the 002-0 MMU.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7205652 was issued to Midland Trail Resources, LLC, for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.362 (a)(1) stating in part that adequate on-shift examinations were not being conducted for the 002-0 MMU.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7205653 was issued to Island Fork Construction, Ltd., for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.362(a)(1) stating in part that adequate on-shift examinations were not being conducted on the 002-0 MMU.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7205654 was issued to Island Fork Construction, Ltd., for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.360(a)(1) stating in part that adequate pre-shift examinations were not being conducted on the 002-0 MMU.
A 104 (d)(1) Order No. 7205655 was issued to Island Fork Construction, Ltd., for a violation of 30 CFR, 75.220(a)(1) stating in part that provisions of the approved roof control plan were not followed.
Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Listed below are the persons furnishing information and/or present during the investigation.
Midland Trail Resources, LLC
Jeff Hoops .............. OwnerIsland Fork Construction, Ltd
David Hardy .............. Attorney
*Freddie A. Taylor .............. General Manager
*Jeff James .............. Superintendent/Mine Foreman
Roger Ball .............. Safety Director*Persons interviewed
Robert B. Allen .............. Attorney
Ben Bryant .............. Attorney
Chris Davis .............. Accounts Manager
**Gary Frame .............. Section Foreman (day shift)
**Lawrence Loudermilk .............. Section Foreman ( evening shift)
*Houston Trout .............. Utility (Hauler Operator)
*Arnold Bostic .............. Roof Bolter Operator ( Timberman)
*Anthony Frame .............. Hauler Operator
*Nathan Burns .............. Apprentice Electrician
*Michael Carr .............. Hauler Operator
*Larry Cox .............. Scoop Operator
*Eugene Wickline .............. Electrician
*Clifford Trout .............. Scoop Operator
*Brian Redden .............. Utility
*Raymond Thomas, Sr. .............. Electrician
*William Feamster .............. Hauler Operator
*Donnie Horne .............. Roof Bolter Operator (Timberman)
*Dennis Taylor .............. Hauler Operator
*Arnold B. Shortridge .............. Continuous Mining Machine Operator
*James Groves .............. Roof Bolter Operator (Timberman)
*Dwane Hellems .............. Continuous Mining Machine Operator
*Billy Selman .............. Electrician
**Persons interviewed � exercised Fifth Amendment Rights.
West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training
C.A. Phillips .............. Deputy DirectorMine Safety and Health Administration
Terry L. Farley .............. Health and Safety Administrator
Gary S. Snyder .............. Inspector-at-Large
William A. Tucker .............. Assistant Inspector-at-Large
Clyde A. Sowder .............. Roof Control Inspector
Lloyd G. Collins .............. Deep Mine Inspector
Terry L. Casto .............. Deep Mine Inspector
Bobby Moreland .............. Accident Investigator
Jon Braenovich .............. Roof Control Specialist � Mining Engineer
Jim Humphrey .............. Accident Investigator
Ronald Scaggs .............. Accident Investigator
Lincoln Selfe .............. Assistant District Manager
Jim Beha .............. Accident Investigation Coordinator
William Williams .............. Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology Center - Mining Engineer
John R. Cook .............. Pittsburgh Safety & Health Technology