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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Saturday, February 15, 2003, a 56-year old roof bolting machine operator with 23- years of mining experience was fatally injured in a rib fall accident. During drilling operations, the victim detected a crack in the left rib of No. 7 entry. As he walked along the left side of the roof-bolting machine to retrieve a pry-bar, a large section of rock and coal rib fell without warning, crushing him. The rock and coal rib measured approximately 8 �-feet high by 2-feet wide by 30-feet long.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Examine the roof, face, and ribs immediately before working in any area. Also, examine frequently during work.

  • Take down or adequately support any loose roof and ribs.

  • Be aware of changing roof and rib conditions and act accordingly.

  • Take extended cuts only in areas with competent roof and rib conditions. Reduce cut depths when adverse conditions are encountered.
  • 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 5th fatality reported in calendar year 2003 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2002, there were four fatalities reported in the coal mining industry. This is the first fatality classified as Roof or Rib Fall in 2003. At this time in 2002, there was one Roof or Rib Fall fatality

    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