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COAL MINE FATALITY - On October 24, 2003, a 29-year-old utility man with two years mining experience was fatally injured when he was struck by a section of roof measuring 96 feet by 14 feet by 5 feet in thickness. The victim was installing breaker posts in the No.1 heading where second mining had just been completed. The victim and section electrician noticed the roof working in the immediate area and traveled outby one block and over to the No. 2 heading. The section electrician checked the roof conditions behind the curtain in the No. 2 heading when the roof began working extensively. The electrician escaped by traveling outby in the No. 2 entry, while the victim traveled through the crosscut, toward the continuous mining machine and other crew members. He was struck by falling roof when he reached the No. 3 entry intersection.

Diagram of Accident Scene
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Best Practices

  • Be alert for changing roof conditions.
  • Install additional roof supports where necessary.
  • Conduct a thorough visual examination of the roof, face, and ribs immediately before any work is started, and thereafter as conditions warrant.
  • Apply additional safety precautions in areas where geological changes and anomalies in strata are present.
  • Train all miners in proper escape and evacuation procedures during retreat mining.
  • 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 28th fatality reported in the calendar year 2003 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2002, there were 23 fatalities. This is the 2nd fatality classified as roof fall in 2003. At this time in 2002, there were 4 fatalities classified as 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