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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Tuesday, December 28, 2004, a 64-year-old heavy equipment operator, with 30 years experience, was fatally injured while assisting the day shift plant crew in clearing a frozen slurry pipe line. The crew cut the pipe apart approximately one hundred feet from the number 102 belt head. The slurry pumps were then started. The victim was located behind the number 102 belt head out of the direct line of the open slurry pipe line. When the frozen slurry was blown from the pipe using compressed air, a piece of the slurry hit the belt head chute and ricocheted, striking the victim in the head. The victim died of his injuries on December 30, 2004.

Photo of Accident Scene

Best Practices

  • Remain a safe distance from pipes being flushed and allow no one in direct view of pipe openings during flushing.
  • Thaw or clear pipes in a manner that does not suddenly release large amounts of energy, wherever possible.
  • Install deflection shields over the pipe opening when high pressure flushing methods are used.
  • Pipes subject to freezing should, when possible, be buried below the frost line, insulated, or otherwise protected to ensure freezing does not occur.
  • 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 fatal accident of 2004 compared to 30 at this time in 2003. This is the 9th fatality classified as Machinery in 2004 compared to 7 Machinery 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