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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, February 3, 1998, a 54-year-old roof bolting machine operator completed the installation of roof bolts in the crosscut between the No. 2 and 3 entries. The roof bolting machine was then trammed to the recently mined face of the No. 4 entry and parked at the last row of roof bolts. The safe-shield ATRS was not pressurized against the mine roof. The miner cleaned out the bolting machine's dust box. The roof bolting machine operator then traveled to the No. 3 entry where, assisted by the section foreman, the two hung the roof bolting machine's trailing cable across the entry. The roof bolting machine operator returned to the machine's location.

Investigators observed a red smudged chalk mark on the mine roof, 48 inches inby the last roof bolt on the left side of the entry, indicating the roof bolting machine operator traveled inby roof support to mark the roof bolt placement. While in the unsupported face area, the roof bolting machine operator was struck and killed by a slab of slickensided gray-shale roof.

  • Never work or travel under unsupported roof.
  • This is the fourth fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1997 there were 2 fatalities. This is the second fatality classified as ROOF FALL in 1998.

    For more information:
    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL98C04]