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District 4



Jim's Branch No. 3A, ID No. 46-08593
Baylor Mining Inc.
New Richmond, Wyoming County, West Virginia

JULY 23, 2001


Michael G. Kalich
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Jon Braenovich
Coal Mine Safety and Health Inspector

Mike Gauna
Mining Engineer

William R. Williams
Mining Engineer

Originating Office � Mine Safety and Health Administration
100 Bluestone Road, Mount Hope, West Virginia 25880
Edwin P. Brady, District Manager

Release Date: September 26, 2001


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 from 8 to 10 inches in thickness. The entire fall of roof was approximately 8 to 10 feet in width and 4 to 5 feet in height and of an undetermined length.


The Jims Branch No. 3A mine, operated by Baylor Mining, Inc., is located near New Richmond, Wyoming County, West Virginia. The single section mine is developed into the Sewell coal seam through five drift openings. The current mine operator began operations in March 2001. Initial development work was performed by a different operator. The coal seam thickness averages 38 inches. Approximately 1,000 tons of clean coal are produced daily on two production and one maintenance shift by 35 employees. The mining method used is room and pillar with full pillar block extraction. Coal is mined utilizing one continuous mining machine, three shuttle cars and belt conveyors. The blowing mine ventilation fan produces 167,631 cubic feet per minute (cfm). There is 58,812 cubic feet of methane liberation each 24 hours.

Mine officials for Baylor Mining, Inc. are as follows: Robert L. Worley, President; William R. Worley, Secretary; Larry Presley, Superintendent; Gary Lawson,Section Foreman.

A quarterly AAA inspection was ongoing at the time of the accident. The previous AAA inspection was completed June 4, 2001.


On Monday, July 23, 2001, the day shift crew, under the direction of section foreman, Gary Lawson, entered the mine at 6:30 a.m. The midnight shift foreman, Randy Ingram, had completed the pre-shift examination prior to the day shift entering the mine and had not reported any hazardous conditions. The midnight shift crew had been working on the feeder crusher and the day shift completed the work before mining commenced. Robert Woolwine, continuous miner operator, moved the miner up the No. 2 entry to begin mining while Keith Lucas, victim, helped move the miner cable and water hose. Mining commenced in the first lift to the left in the pillar block.

During this time Lawson had examined the work area and did not observe and hazards. Lawson discussed the mining sequence with Woolwine and Lucas about one hour prior to the accident then left to check on other workers.

At approximately 9:45 a.m. the miner completed the second lift to the right and the left side tram on the miner malfunctioned. Darrell Bailey, electrician and section mechanic, was called to make repairs to the miner. Woolwine was able to back the miner out of the lift, posts were set, and the tram circuit was repaired.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. the miner was backed into the No. 2 entry intersection. Woolwine and Lucas were moving the miner cable and water hose to position the miner for the final lift on this pillar block. Woolwine stated that when he bent over to pick up the cable he noticed small pieces of rock begin to flake off the roof. He and the victim attempted to run from the intersection. Woolwine positioned himself between the outby rib and a post as the intersection fell. The victim was behind Woolwine and was caught by the edge of the falling material.

The section crew immediately began the recovery of the victim. Additional posts were set to make the area safe. A shuttle car was positioned behind the miner in an attempt to prevent more material from falling. Lifting jacks were used to lift the piece of rock that was on the victim. Lawson stated that he checked for a pulse several times during the recovery and found none present. The victim was freed at approximately 10:40 a.m. and transported to the surface where he arrived at approximately 11:00 a.m.

The Upper Laurel Ambulance Service was on site and transported the victim to Pineville WV where the Wyoming county coroner pronounced him dead at 11:15 a.m. The medical examiner determined that the victim died from compressional asphyxia due to a rock fall in underground coal mining.


The mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was notified of the accident by Ken Wilson, outside man, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 23, 2001. MSHA personnel and representatives of the West Virginia Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training immediately traveled to the mine and jointly conducted the investigation. A 103(k) order was issued to ensure the safety of all persons until completion of the investigation.

Photographs, sketches, audio/video recordings, and an engineering survey of the area of the accident were made on July 23, 2001. Interviews of persons considered to have knowledge of the facts surrounding the accident were conducted on July 24, 2001. The onsite portion of the investigation was completed and the 103(k) order terminated on July 25, 2001.



Training records were reviewed and all required training was in compliance with 30 CFR.

Physical Factors
1. The roof fall occurred in the intersection of the No. 2 entry at spad 2706 of the mainline development. The area is approximately 5,560 feet underground. At the accident site the overburden is approximately 305 feet.

2. The victim had 26 years underground mining experience and had been working at this mine for 4 months and 8 days. The victim's normal job assignment was that of roof-bolter operator but at the time of the accident he was performing the duties of a continuous mining machine operator helper.

3. The roof fall extended from the end of the miner boom to beyond the front of the cutter heads. Most of the fallen roof rock was on the continuous miner. The roof fall width extended from the left edge of the continuous miner, across the frame, to an 8 foot area beyond the right edge of the machine frame. The fall rubble did not consist of one continuous slab but appeared to have broken into several elongated slabs upon striking the continuous miner. The highest observable fall height that existed approximately 7 feet north of the victim's position and was approximately 4 to 5 feet high.

4. The roof fall appeared to initiate from the north of the victim's position. Immediately to the south of the fatality site the roof rock was approximately 3 feet in thickness. Two 36 inch roof bolts remained imbedded in the roof above the fall immediately to the south of the victim's position.

5. Another operator conducted the initial mining of the pillars undergoing pillar extraction. The accident site was initially excavated in August, 1998. The current unit was in the process of completing the extraction of a row of pillars. Mining involved the use of a twinning cut sequence retreat plan. (i.e. cuts are made left and right from the same entry).

6. The mining height in the No. 2 entry intersection was approximately 5 feet. Surrounding entries and crosscuts were 40 to 45 inches high. Coal seam thickness averaged 40 inches. The pillar dimensions surrounding the accident site were approximately 30 feet wide and 50 feet long.

7. At the accident site a sandy mudstone or sandy shale immediate roof exists. The lack of fissility (horizontal lamination) tends to classify the rock type as sandy mudstone. The roof horizon was undulating and uneven. Roof support in the accident area consisted of 36 inch, fully grouted, grade 60, No.5 headed rebar. The roof bolts were installed in 1 inch diameter holes on a nominal 4 foot maximum spacing. The floor consists of sandy shale.

8. At the accident site slickensides (also called slips) existed within the roof horizon. Within the fall cavity, the slickensides generally tended approximately north to south. In the vicinity of the boom of the continuous mining machine the roof fall was bounded to the west by a prominent slickenside dipping westward. Within the roof fall other slickenside failure surfaces were evident at various dipping orientations. A slickenside feature was observed in the roof tending southwest, in curvilinear fashion, from the southern perimeter of the fall. Slickensides are randomly oriented fractures with smooth shiny striated surfaces. These surfaces possess minimal cohesion and consequently from failure surfaces conducive to roof rock failure. Slickensides typically exist in the vicinity of shale-sandstone contacts and form from differential compaction during the sedimentation consolidation process.

9. The Sewell coal seam, which was the seam being mined at this operation, has several underlying coal seams that have been mined. The face area was investigated for evidence of observable adverse impact from multiple seam mining. No abrupt change in grade suggestive of deflection from undermining subsidence was noted and no evidence of unusual pillar loading was noted.


The accident was caused by inadequate roof support in an area of transition from solid sandstone roof rock to a sandy mudstone or sandy shale immediate roof. A slip was present in the intersection but was not detected prior to the fall.


A 103(k) Order, No. 4198799 was issued to Baylor Mining Inc. to ensure the safety of the miners until the investigation could be completed.

A 104(a) citation No. 7188738 was issued to Baylor Mining Inc. stating in part that the mine roof was not adequately supported or controlled to protect persons from hazards related to falls of the roof.

Related Fatal Alert Bulletin:
Fatal Alert Bulletin Icon FAB00C12


The following persons were interviewed, provided information, and/or were present during the investigation:

Baylor Mining Inc.
Bob Worley ............... President
*Larry Presley ............... Superintendent/Mine Foreman
*Gary Lawson ............... Day Shift Section Foreman
*Robby Woolwine ............... Day Shift Cont. Miner Operator
*Marvin Darrell Bailey ............... Day Shift Electrician
*Jerry L. Lane ............... Day Shift Shuttle Car Operator
*Garrett D. Lambert ............... Day Shift Shuttle Car Operator
*Stephen B Hardy ............... Day Shift Shuttle Car Operator
*Randy L. Ingram ............... Midnight Shift Section Foreman
*Ronald E. Roark ............... Second Shift Section Foreman
*Keith Setliff ............... Second Shift Cont. Miner Operator
Mark Heath ............... Attorney, Heenan, Athen & Roles
Heather M. Garrison ............... Attorney, Heenan, Athen & Roles

*Indicates persons interviewed

West Virginia Office of Miners Health,Safety and Training
Terry Farley ............... Health and Safety Administrator
Fred B. Stinson ............... Inspector-at-Large
Donald L. Dickerson ............... Assistant Inspector-at-Large
Dwight McClure ............... District Mine Inspector/Roof Control
Kip D. Bell ............... District Mine Inspector
Mike Rutledge ............... Safety Instructor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
Jim Beha ............... Staff Assistant
M.G. Kalich ............... CMS&H Inspector (Electrical/AI)
Jon Braenovich ............... CMS&H Inspector(Roof Control/AI)
Doug Smith ............... EFS Specialist
Mike Gauna ............... Tech Support (Mining Engineer)
William R. Williams ............... Tech Support (Mining Engineer)

Sketch of Accident Scene
Sketch of Accident Scene