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COAL MINE FATALITY -On August 12, 1999, a blast helper was fatally injured in a surface explosives accident. The victim had threaded 3 cast boosters, each equipped with a slider detonator, onto a non-electric det-cord. He then attached a cast booster with a fixed detonator to the end of the det-cord and lowered it into a drill hole. The three sliding cast boosters were placed on the drill tailings and the det-cord was tied off to a wooden stake approximately 3 feet from the top of the drill hole. There were no eyewitnesses, however indications are that one of the slider boosters fell into the hole, slid down the det-cord and impacted on the fixed booster, resulting in pre-detonation of all the boosters, including the two remaining at the top of the hole. The force of the blast resulted in fatal injuries to the victim.

Fatal Gram Drawing
  • Primers (boosters) should not be threaded onto a det-cord until needed.
  • If more than one primer is to be used in a drill hole, the additonal primer(s) should not be placed in an area where they may accidentally slip or fall down the drill hole.
  • The explosive manufacturer's safety precautions should be posted and frequently reviewed at all locations where explosives are being stored or used.
  • All miners who are required to work with explosives should be provided instruction in the manufacturer's safety precautions and the causes of premature detonations. These safety precautions should be followed at all times.
  • All explosive materials should be examined for possible defects, prior to being used.
  • This is the 23rd fatality reported in calendar year 1999 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1998, there were 18 fatalities. This is the 2nd fatality classified as Explosives in 1999.

    For more information:
    MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL99C23]