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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Monday, July 23, 2001, a 47 year old continuous mining machine operator helper, with a total of 26 years mining experience, was fatally injured in a roof fall accident. The continuous mining machine had completed mining the second lift in the right pillar in the No. 2 entry. The continuous mining machine had backed into the intersection in preparation for mining the final lift. The continuous mining machine operator noticed small pieces of rock begin to flake off the roof. He and the victim attempted to run from the intersection. A large section of the roof fell catching the victim and covering the continuous mining machine. The portion of the roof that struck the victim consisted of shale with high angle slickensided slips measuring approximately 6 feet long by 2 feet wide and ranging form 8 to 10 inches in thickness. The entire fall of roof was approximately 8 to10 feet in width and 4 to 5 feet in height and of an undetermined length.

Sketch of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Always examine the roof in your work area prior to doing any work.

  • Always be alert to changing roof conditions and ensure that roof support is still adequate in areas that have been developed for long periods of time.

  • Always follow the approved roof control plan.

  • Always do a thorough and complete pre-shift examination.
  • 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 12th fatal accident, reported in calendar year 2001, in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2000, there were sixteen fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the sixth fatal accident, classified as a roof fall, reported in the coal mining industry in 2001. At this time in 2000, there was one fatal accident, classified as a roof fall, in the coal mining industry.

    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