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Coal Mine Fatality - On Sunday, August 29, 2004, a 37-year old contractor employee with 3 years of mining experience was fatally injured while repairing a high voltage wire on a power pole. A repair to the 12,470 volt powerline was needed because the middle high-voltage phase had burned in two at a set of visible disconnects. The contractor foreman used a hotstick to open the three visible disconnects; however, the line side remained energized. The victim climbed approximately 25 feet up the power pole and repaired the broken wire. The foreman, standing on the ground watching the victim make the repair, observed the victim put all of his tools in his waist pouch. While walking toward the utility truck, the foreman heard an electrical arc, turned and saw the victim falling from the pole.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Never perform electrical work without proper qualifications, certification, and training.
  • Ensure that equipment is de-energized, locked out, and tagged before performing electrical work.
  • Check for proper grounding of power conductors where required.
  • Use proper equipment (gloves, etc.) when performing electrical work.
  • Comply with the safety rules, such as 30 CFR 77.704-1(a) and (b), to protect yourself and your fellow miners.
  • 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 17th fatality reported in calendar year 2004 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2003, there were 22 fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the second fatality classified as Electrical in 2004. There were four Electrical fatalities at this time in 2003.

    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