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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, April 20, 1996, a continuous mining machine operator and two other miners were installing a belt drive off of the main belt line. The miner operator was using a 5-ton ratchet-type jack to raise the belt drive structure to level it. Using a 59-inch length of 7/8-inch drill steel as a lever, the miner operator was apparently jacking the belt drive upwards, when either the drill steel slipped or the jack malfunctioned causing the drill steel to "kick". The drill steel hit the continuous mining machine operator on the right side of his head with a great amount of force and inflicted fatal injuries.

This is the 15th coal mine fatality in 1996. As of April 20 of last year, there had been 12 fatalities. This is the first death classified as OTHER (Hand Tools) in 1996.

Photograph of the accident scene with the jack positioned beneath the belt drive

For more information:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL96C15]