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COAL MINE FATALITY -On Monday, December 14, 1998, a 38-year old continuous mining machine operator and his helper, age 35, were both fatally injured when they were struck by a roof fall while extracting a final lift of a coal pillar.

The roof fall measured approximately 85 feet by 45 feet by 6 feet minimum in thickness. The accident occurred while the victims were operating the continuous mining machine by remote control. The area where the roof fall occurred was previously supported by 72 inch, no.6, grade 60, fully grouted roof bolts, installed through steel straps.

Best Practices

  • As the seasons change, and cooler, dryer weather approaches, miners and mine examiners should be especially alert to adverse changes in the mine atmosphere and changing roof conditions.

  • Miners and mine examiners should constantly be alert to any changes in roof conditions while retreat mining is in progress.

  • Don't make assumptions based upon outward appearances.

  • All persons must position themselves as far outby as possible during final lift extraction and while retreat mining is in progress.
  • These are the 27th and 28th fatalities reported in calendar year 1998 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1997, there were 27 fatalities. These are the 12th and 13th fatalities classified as Roof Falls in 1998.

    For more information:

    Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL98C27]