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COAL MINE FATALITY - On August 13, 2002 at approximately 3:00 a.m., a 66-year-old highwall drill operator was fatally injured when he fell twenty-three feet off the edge of a highwall. The victim was walking from his truck along the drill bench to his highwall drill in dark and foggy conditions when the accident occurred. The victim was able to call for help using a cell phone. The victim was rescued, however, he later expired as a result of injuries.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Provide and use appropriate lighting in work areas after dark.
  • Establish and use designated travelways to travel to and from work areas.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and any hazards that may be present.
  • 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 19th fatal accident reported in calendar year 2002 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2001, there were 13 fatal accidents reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatal accident classified as Fall of Person in 2002. At this same time in 2001, there was one fatal accident in the coal mining industry classified as Fall of Person.

    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