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COAL MINE FATALITY - On Sunday, January 29, 2006, a 37-year old longwall shearer machine operator was fatally injured when a bounce/outburst occurred on the active longwall face. The victim, tailgate shearer operator, was located at No. 11 shield waiting for the headgate to cut out when the outburst occurred. Coal from the face was ejected into the longwall walkway, striking the victim and causing crushing injuries. The victim was positioned behind a hanging conveyor belt guard and a metal guard which was attached to the outside of the cable handling and support system. The overburden in the area of the accident was approximately 2700 feet thick.

Diagram of Accident Site described in paragraph above

Best Practices
  • When appropriate, use personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk and/or severity of injury.
  • Ensure that all machinery guards and other safety devices are adequate, properly installed, and well maintained before work commences.
  • Shearer operators should position themselves behind the sloughage plate, elevated cutter drums, or lump breaker on the shearer when coal is being cut.
  • 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 16th fatality reported during calendar year 2006 in the coal mining industry. As of this date in 2005, there were no fatalities reported in coal mining. This is the first fatality classified as Fall of Face, Rib, Side, or Highwall in 2006.

    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