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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Friday September 24, 1999, two miners were fatally injured and two others received injuries that required hospitalization, when a roof support canopy that had been been constructed in a cavity that was created from a previous roof fall suddenly collapsed. A crew of five miners and two supervisors were working in a track entry recovering 20-foot lengths of 10-inch diameter high strength plastic pipe. The roof in the work area was supported by a 35-foot long canopy constructed of 60-pound rails and wood planks. The canopy was supported by pin rails in both ribs. Cribs and posts were installed between the mine roof and the top of the canopy to support the mine roof in the cavity. The pipe being recovered was suspended by chains with roof bolts which extended through the canopy into the main mine roof.

Diagram Showing How Area Was Supported Prior to the Accident

Fatal Alert Diagram
  • Underground canopy structures should be frequently inspected for structural stability and the loads being supported should be evaluated.
  • An evaluation for potential hazards should be conducted prior to any work being performed that could compromise the stability of a canopy structure.
  • When adverse conditions are detected or structural stability of a canopy are in question, additional measures should be taken to ensure the safety of workers.
  • These are the 27th and 28th fatalities reported in calendar year 1999 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1998, there were 21 fatalities. These are the first and second fatalities classified as Falling Material in 1999.

    For more information:
    MSHA's Fatal Accident Investigation Report [FTL99C27]