COAL MINE FATALITY - On April 23, 1997, an electrician was repairing the water sprays on the section belt feeder. The feeder was equipped with a remote manual overdrive switch located on the feeder. The switch was normally used by the shuttle car operator(s) to activate the feeder. However, the power cable between the switch and the feeder had been accidently severed shortly before the accident.
While repairing the water sprays, the electrician was standing in the coal feeder leaning over the pick-breaker when the feeder and pick-breaker suddenly started. Investigators believe that the conductors in the severed feeder power cable inadvertently made contact, activating the feeder. The section belt feeder had not been properly deenergized prior to maintenance or repairs being performed on the feeder.
This is the ninth coal mine fatality in 1997. As of April 23, last year, there had been 15 fatalities. This death is the fourth classified as POWERED HAULAGE in 1997.
For more information:
MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL97C09]