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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Thursday, September 21, 2000, a 51 year old mechanic with 30 years of mining experience received fatal injuries when he was crushed between a coal car and the corner of the rotary dump. The victim had been assigned to trouble-shoot an alignment problem at the surface rotary dump. He made arrangements with the rotary dump operator to separate the car located inside the rotary dump from the adjacent car on the empty track. The victim then reached between these cars to uncouple them using the cut-off bar attached to the car located inside the rotary dump. The cars were then pulled toward the loaded track to facilitate the uncoupling, causing the cars on the empty track to drift toward the victim crushing him between this car and the corner of the rotary dump.

Fatalgram Photo
Fatalgram Drawing
Accident Site after victim was removed and the cars where moved toward the empty track. Illustration showing victim's position at the time of the accident. The empty track is on the left side of the illustration.

Best Practices

  • Equipment operators should be aware of the location of all individuals involved in the task prior to equipment movement.

  • Repairs or maintenance should not be performed on machinery until the power is off and the machinery is blocked against motion, except where machinery motion is necessary to make adjustments. In such cases, all parties must communicate as to the exact procedure involved and position themselves in a safe location, prior to moving the equipment, to protect themselves from unexpected and sudden movement.

  • 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 27th fatality reported in calendar year 2000 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 1999, there were 27 fatalities. This is the 6th accident classified as machinery reported in the coal mining industry in 2000. As of this date in1999, there were 3 fatal accidents classified as machinery. _______

    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