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Coal Mine Fatality - On Saturday, November 20, 2004, an equipment operator was fatally injured while operating an excavator close to a highwall. While loading spoil into trucks, with the operator's cab positioned on the highwall side, the highwall collapsed and crushed the cab. The work was being performed near old underground mine works.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Do not work near dangerous highwalls or banks.
  • Operate excavators with the cab positioned away from the highwall side.
  • Be aware of changing highwall conditions and develop mining methods that address adverse changes.
  • Train examiners to recognize adverse conditions and environmental factors that can decrease stability.
  • Involve front line supervisors when developing mining plans.
  • 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 25th fatality reported in calendar year 2004 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2003, there were 30 fatalities. This is the second fatality classified as Fall of face/rib/side or highwall in 2004.

    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