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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, March 13, 1995, a truck driver was fatally injured when the truck he was driving went backwards over the edge of the spoil pile and down a 200 foot embankment. The truck contained a load of wet material loaded from a parking area to be dumped at the edge of the spoil. During the investigation the bulldozer operator at the site stated that he had advised the truck drivers by radio to dump "short" because the edge of the spoil was soft.

The victim was making his eighth loaded trip to the dumping area, however he was backing his truck to a different location from where his previous loads were dumped. This was the only location on the edge where a rock pile, created by trucks dumping "short", did not exist. An eyewitness observed the truck as it was rolling down the slope, however he did not observe the victim being thrown from the truck near the bottom of the slope. Some related factors are: the truck bed had not been raised; a seat belt was not worn but the damage to the cab was so complete a fatal injury likely would have occurred had the driver remained in the cab; the victim wore a hearing aid; and the investigation revealed the front brakes and parking brake were inoperable but the rear brakes were operable and sufficient to hold the truck.

This is the fourth coal mine fatality in 1995. As of March 13 last year, there had been nine fatalities. This death is the third classified as POWERED HAULAGE in 1995.

Photograph of the accident scene

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL95C04]