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District 8 - Coal Mine Safety and Health
Info-Grams and Close Call Accidents

Close Call Graphic
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration

Accident Info-Gram
May 2003

Bulldozer Slid into Stockpile Void

On May 27, 2003, at a preparation plant in District 8, a Caterpillar D10 bulldozer fell into a void located above the No. 1 feeder at the clean-coal reclaim tunnel. In order to do some clean-up work on the other side of the surge pile, the bulldozer operator traveled across the feeder. As he traveled back across the same path, he noticed the indicator light was on, which showed the feeder was operating. The feeder had not been previously operating, and the bulldozer operator was unsure of its exact location. As the bulldozer traveled back across the top of the coal pile, it fell backward and sideways into the void. The bulldozer operator immediately called the load-out operator to shut off the feeder. When the load-out operator stopped the feeder, the bulldozer stopped sliding into the feeder cavity.

The coal had been stockpiled for three days because of the holiday weekend. The coal at the top of the pile was more compressed than usual because of the time lapse and a latex binder had been added to the coal. The latex binder is added to the coal by the adjacent synthetic fuel treatment plant. The feeder was started and this caused a void to form in the coal stockpile. This void was unnoticeable because the overlying compacted coal did not fall into the void.

Dozer Trapped

  • Provide training to every person that works on or near surge piles to alert them of the associated dangers and to the stipulations in the safety program.
  • Indicate the location of feeder points with overhead markers or other suitable indicator systems.
  • Establish a system of communication so that the equipment operators working on the surge pile are aware of plans to open or close feeders. Install all feeders with the ability to close fully and open fully the feeder gates.
  • Use machinery equipped with high-strength glass. Provide the window glass with structural support to prevent it from being pushed into the cab by outside pressure.
  • Never push coal into an active feeder until a cone begins to form on the surface of the surge pile and always push perpendicular to the cone.
  • If a cone does not form above an active feeder, take corrective action to eliminate the void.
  • Store Self-Contained Self-Rescuers and a flashlight inside the cabs of bulldozers used on surge piles.

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This file was last updated on 7/7/2003

This information was provided by concerned miners in an effort to eliminate accidents. Accident or "close call" information within District 8 may be shared by contacting the MSHA office at (812) 882-7617.