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COAL MINE FATALITY - On August 16, 2000, a 23-year-old independent contractor employee, with approximately two years of experience, was making repairs to the edge of the fourth floor deck of a mine preparation plant, just above an operating coal washer. This task was facilitated by placing a metal scaffold board over the tail end of the washer, within inches of the moving return conveyor flights and associated chain and sprockets (refer to the image below). The victim was in an elevated position above the third floor and had tied off one lanyard of his safety harness to a nearby chute, with the second lanyard looped back and fastened to his harness. While squatting down on the scaffold board to look at the weld, the victim was pulled backward into the washer when the second lanyard on his safety harness was caught by the moving conveyor. He was carried through the washer, resulting in fatal injuries.

Fatal Gram Graphic

Best Practices

  • Exposed moving machine parts which may be contacted by persons, and which may cause injury to persons, must be guarded.

  • Temporary job sites which would expose workers to hazards associated with moving machine parts (from areas which are not required to be guarded during normal operations) should also be protected by guards; or the power should be shut off and the machinery blocked against motion prior to workers occupying such positions.

  • More Information
    E-mail Suggestion for Accident Prevention Program
    Submit your own suggestion for a remedy to prevent this type of accident in the future.
    Please specify if you wish your submission to be anonymous or whether your name may be used. Please include the year of the fatality and the fatality number.

    This is the twenty-second fatality reported in calendar year 2000 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1999, there were twenty-four fatalities. This is the second surface mine Machinery fatality reported in the mining industry in 2000. There were three surface mine Machinery fatalities reported in the same period in 1999.

    The information provided in this notice is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

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