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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Thursday, November 29, 2001, a roof bolting machine operator was fatally injured in a rib fall accident. The operators of a double-boom roof-bolting machine had just finished installing the last row of roof bolts in the crosscut off of the No. 6 Entry. The operators had rock-dusted the ribs and were preparing to move roof-bolting machine to the next place. As the victim walked from the face along the left side of the machine, a piece of the rib-rock fell without warning, crushing him against the roof-bolting machine. The rib-rock measured approximately ten feet in length, six and a half feet wide, and thirty inches thick.

Photo of accident scene

Best Practices

  • A visual examination of the roof, face, and ribs should be made immediately before any work is started in an area and thereafter as conditions warrant.

  • Proper positioning of personnel in safe locations relating to ribs and machinery is essential in reducing exposure to hazards and eliminating accidents

  • All miners, especially the foreman, preshift, and on shift examiners, should be trained to visually recognize roof and rib hazards.

  • Be aware of changing roof and rib conditions and take appropriate actions immediately.
  • 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 41st fatal accident, reported in calendar year 2001, in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2000, there were 33 fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the 2nd fatal accident, classified as fall of face, rib or highwall reported in the coal mining industry in 2001. At this time in 2000, there were 2 fatal accidents, classified as fall of face, rib or highwall 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