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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Sunday, November 22, 1998 at approximately 5:25 a.m., a bulldozer operator was pushing coal away from the clean coal stacker on the stockpile when the coal above the No. 1 feeder collapsed, causing the dozer to fall into a void above the feeder. The sides of the void then collapsed entrapping the dozer and fatally injuring the operator. All of the dozer windows were broken or forced out of their frames. There were no eyewitnesses. A search for the operator began at 5:25 a.m., when the dozer operator failed to respond to a scheduled radio contact. The victim was recovered at 1:12 p.m. No draw-off feeders were operating at the time of the accident, however coal was being gravity fed through some of the feeders.

  • All draw-off feeders should be constructed to prevent gravity feed of material.
  • An interlocked signal system which identifies active feeders with a signal visible to equipment operators should be utilized in addition to markers used to locate all feeder areas.
  • Work areas should have sufficient illumination to ensure safe working conditions.
  • Instrumentation that verifies that active feeders are delivering material should be installed to identify voids.
  • Visual examinations of the stockpile should be conducted to verify that feeders are properly drawing off material.
  • This is the 25th fatality reported in calendar year 1998 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1997, there were 27 fatalities. This is the second fatality classified as MACHINERY in 1998.

    For more information:

    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL98C25]