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District 4 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
The Red Zone

In the Red Zone


Entering the “RED ZONE” continues to result in mine fatalities and injuries. A recent non-fatal roof fall accident occurred that resulted in injuries to two miners who were working in the “RED ZONE”. The miners were loading supplies onto the roof bolting machine from a battery scoop. The roof bolting machine was positioned at the mouth of an unbolted right crosscut and the scoop was positioned to the right-rear of the bolting machine with the bucket extending into the “RED ZONE”. The miners were in front of the bucket, between the first and second row of roof bolts, moving supplies to the roof bolting machine when the roof material fell. Draw rock fell along the right rib of the unsupported area and extended into where the men were working, striking and injuring both miners. Fortunately, the injuries were not life threatening.

Best practices to prevent such an accident from re-occurring include moving the roof bolting machine and the scoop to a safe area outby the newly developed crosscut. This would prevent the miners exposure to the hazards created by working close to the unsupported area or the need to perform work in the “RED ZONE”.

Please take time to re-instruct all miners as to the location of the "RED ZONE" as shown in your mine's approved roof control plan. Working in the "RED ZONE" is not much different from working in an unsupported area. Roof material that begins to fall in the unbolted area doesn't always stop at the first row of roof bolts. When that happens, it hurts to be in the "RED ZONE".