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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
September 2007

Clay Bank Highwall Failure Trapped Shovel Operator

At approximately 8:30 am central standard time, on Saturday, 09/29/2007, a clay-bank highwall failure occurred in the northeast corner of the 001 pit at a mine in District 8.
             The clay-bank failure caused a Caterpillar 777C haul truck to skid sideways into a Hitachi EX1800 shovel, which also slid sideways. The shovel's cab was severely damaged, trapping the operator inside the cab. It took approximately 35 to 40 minutes to extricate the operator from the cab. A mechanic at the mine used a cutting torch to cut away the foot controls in order to free the operator's feet. An ambulance crew treated the shovel operator at the scene and then transported him to a hospital. The shovel operator suffered a hairline fracture to his right ankle and other minor injuries. Subsequently, the shovel operator was released. The haul truck operator was uninjured.

Highwall Collapse


  • Position the operators' compartment as far away as possible from the highwall.
  • Conduct inspections of the highwall for hazardous conditions, especially after each rain, freeze, or thaw.
  • Do not work near dangerous highwalls or banks.
  • Mining systems should ensure that equipment operating personnel's work or travel areas are a safe distance from the toe of the highwall.
  • Be aware of changing highwall conditions and develop mining methods that address adverse changes.

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This file was last updated on 10/18/2007

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.