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COAL MINE FATALITY - On December 19, 1995, a material person was operating a diesel 5th wheel material hauler with a passenger on board. The miner was steering the hauler down an 8-10% grade surface haulage road with the hauler in neutral. As the hauler's speed increased, the miner apparently put the transmission in 1st gear. Investigators believe that the hauler was traveling at a speed greater than the upper-limit speed for 1st gear, consequently, the engine rpm elevated above the rated capacity and the hauler slowed almost to a stop. This action apparently caused the engine to shutdown. When the engine stopped, the hauler lost hydraulic pressure for steering control and braking. At this point, the passenger jumped out of the hauler. The hauler continued down the haulage road, struck the guardrail and jack-knifed. The machine operator either jumped or was thrown out of the hauler and fell beneath the trailer wheels. Investigators determined that the nitrogen/hydraulic accumulator system, which provides emergency hydraulic pressure for steering and braking, was not adequately maintained.

This is the 45th coal mine fatality in 1995. As of December 19, of last year there had been 44 fatalities. This death is the 16th classified as POWERED HAULAGE in 1995.

Photograph of the accident scene

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL95C45]